European Parliament says they sensed Egyptian desire to end Gaza siege

22/03/2011 – 01:07 PM

BRUSSELS, (PIC)– Members of the European parliament said they sensed a consensus among the Egyptians they met on the need to end the five-year siege on the impoverished Gaza Strip.

They said so during a two-day visit to Cairo that ended Sunday after discussing several foreign policy issues that included the economic blockade on Gaza and the closure of the Rafah border crossing in Rafah region.

The delegation met with Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa and officials in the Egyptian foreign ministry and listened to what they had envisioned for the country’s future.

They also met with party leaders and those representing the January 25 revolution as the first delegation of MEPs to visit Egypt during the rule of the transitional government under the presidency of Esam Sharaf.

MEP Richard Hewitt said the current popular referendum was a huge change compared to past elections in Egypt.

Separately, the European network to support the rights of Palestinian prisoners (Ufree) said it gave a list of 32 Palestinians still held in Egyptian prisons to the European delegation to be handed to Egyptian leaders during the tour.

The statement calls on the Egyptian supreme council of the armed forces, which was handed power after Mubarak was overthrown, to free the detainees at the earliest opportunity.

Ufree urged the Egyptian government to take steps to strengthen ties with the Palestinians  in Gaza “who have for a long time suffered from the policies of the former regime.”


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