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End of Israeli-Palestinian conflict critical for regional peace: Turkish PM
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15:58, September 25, 2009

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Resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on two states existing in peace and security was indispensable to both regional and global peace, Turkey's prime minister said here Thursday.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was addressing the general debate of the UN General Assembly, which entered its second day on Thursday.

Demanding an opening of barriers which he said were thwarting the reconstruction of Gaza, the prime minister said: "Turkey has on every possible occasion stressed that it is not possible to turn a blind eye to the appalling conditions in Gaza."

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 64th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, the United States, Sept. 24, 2009, on the second day of the general debate of the assembly. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)

"It is our common humanitarian and moral responsibility to ensure that the tragedy unfolding in Gaza is brought to an end, and an atmosphere of lasting peace is created in the region," said Erdogan.

He told the 192-member Assembly that the three-week Israeli military offensive at the start of the year, which Israel said was to end rocket attacks by militants operating in Gaza, quickly turned into a human tragedy.

The conflict resulted in the death of some 1,400 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and more than 5,000 injuries. Many buildings in Gaza were turned to rubble, and even UN sites came under attack, said Erdogan.

"It has been eight months since the declaration of the ceasefire that ended the hostilities in Gaza," he said, adding that six months had also passed since an international conference in Egypt pledged billions of dollars for the reconstruction of the area. "However, I regret that the human tragedy in Gaza still goes on."

Erdogan said closures at border crossings blocked reconstruction materials and supplies from entering Gaza, causing extended suffering for the 1.4 million people living in the Strip.

"We demand that these obstacles are immediately lifted and normalcy restored to Gaza for the sake of peace and security of both Israel and the Palestinians," he said.

Source: Xinhua

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