Italy: Foreign minister calls for urgent UN action in Gaza

Rome, 30 Dec. (AKI) - Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has called for a United Nations' Security Council resolution to bring an immediate ceasefire to the Gaza Strip. Speaking in the Senate in Rome on Tuesday, Frattini said Italy may look at a joint UN resolution with France, since Wednesday was the last day that Italy would sit in the Security Council and the final day of France's rotating presidency of the European Union.

Frattini outlined four points to be included in the resolution: an immediate ceasefire, resumption of humanitarian aid, international observers and a European presence in the territory.

"The first point is for an immediate ceasefire, and the second is for an immediate resumption of humanitarian aid, some help," Frattini said.

"The third point on which we could have a consensus but is more difficult to achieve is the major request, that our American friends have formulated informally, for international observers to guarantee respect for the truce and humanitarian aid."

The minister, while unwilling to play down the obstacles to the proposal, said that an "elastic formula" for a gradual deployment of observers could be accepted by the Arab League.

He said the text could refer to a 2005 resolution, which for the first time made reference to an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority for a European presence in the territory with personnel from the European Security and Defence Policy, an arm of the EU.

Frattini said the resolution could include an explicit reference for mediation to be conducted by Egypt and the request for a unilateral ceasefire during the Arab League summit scheduled for 2 January.


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