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EU calls for safe delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza

The foreign ministers, who met in Brussels, the European Union capital, issued a declaration that also reiterated their commitment to Iraq's unity, and expressed concern about the deteriorating security situation resulting from assaults by the so-called Islamic State. The militant group seeks to establish an Islamic caliphate in the Middle East, erasing boundaries drawn by Europeans in the wake of World War I. The ministers, representing the 28 countries that are members of the EU, expressed as well their concern at the "worsening crisis" in eastern Ukraine and its impact on civilians.  The declaration said the EU continues to worry about the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. It said the ministers were concerned about the demolished houses in the Palestinian territory, as well as unexploded ammunition, the living conditions for displaced people, the water supply and the availability of electricity. They called for immediate humanitarian aid, including safe access for aid officials, to the Gaza Strip in accordance with international humanitarian law. And they called for fundamental political change.

"The situation in the Gaza Strip has been unsustainable for many years and a return to the status quo prior to the latest conflict is not an option," the statement said.

It said that a sustainable cease-fire, coupled with the lifting of the Israeli blockade, was needed to improve the living conditions of the Palestinian people. The foreign ministers said that the EU would help prevent illicit arms trafficking so that Gaza's crossing points could be re-opened.

In addition, the ministers said Hamas must end its threat to Israel, as demonstrated by its rocket attacks on the country, and that "all terrorist groups in Gaza must disarm." 

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