February 25, 2011 - 12:00am

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Assleborn visited the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Friday and called on Israel to lift a tight blockade that had been imposed on the enclave for more than three years.

Assleborn, who is also a deputy prime minister of Luxembourg, arrived in the Gaza Strip earlier on Friday, from Israel, for a several-hour visit in the enclave.

"My message to Israel is very clear. If you like your children please like and love the children in Gaza and give them a possibility to live under better and normal conditions," Assleborn told a new briefing in Gaza.

He urged the Palestinians and the Israelis to avoid violence and work hard to reach a peaceful solution to the prolonged conflict. Assleborn did not hold any talks with Hamas rulers of the enclave.

During his trip, Assleborn visited Gaza's only fishing port and inspected the situation of fishermen in light of Israel's restrictions.

He also held talks with Gaza businessmen at the Headquarter of the United Nations Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) as he was updated with the worsening economic situation caused by the Israeli blockade.

Israeli imposed a tight blockade on Gaza after Hamas movement seized control of it by force in June 2007. However, Israel partially relaxed the blockade following the Israeli attack on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May 31 last year.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017