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EU concerned about tightened situation in Middle East
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09:17, April 18, 2008

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The European Union expressed deep concern on Thursday over the tightened situation in Gaza and southern Israel, calling for an end of all violence.

"The Presidency of the European Union expresses its deep concern over the latest escalation of violence in Gaza and southern Israel on 16 April, which resulted once again in many civilian victims, among them Palestinian children," a statement from the EU Slovenian Presidency said.

"The Presidency expresses its sincere condolences to the families of victims," the statement added.

While condemning the terrorist attack at the Nahal Oz fuel terminal on April 9 which claimed two civilian lives, the presidency called on both sides to show restraint and end all violence.

"Cessation of violence is one of the key elements in achieving the Annapolis commitments," the statement claimed.

At least 20 Palestinians and three Israeli soldiers were killed on Wednesday in a fresh outbreak of violence in the Gaza Strip.

Washington has tried its efforts to push forward the Middle East peace process by hosting an international conference on the Middle East peace in Annapolis, Maryland, last year. However, the Middle East peace process has made little progress since then.

The Presidency once again urged "a peaceful and comprehensive resolution to the situation in Gaza, including an end to rocket attacks and all other acts of violence, and a controlled opening of the crossings to meet the humanitarian needs of the civilian population."

"We have stated too many times that both Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in peace and security. Actions that undermine the peace process should be stopped immediately," stressed the statement.


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