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11 March 2010 Edition

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Gaza visit MEPs lobby President Buzek on EU role

President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek

President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek

Six MEPs who participated recently in the largest delegation of European parliamentarians to visit Gaza met on Tuesday morning in the name of that delegation with Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament. The MEPs were accompanied by Mazen Kahel and Arafat Shoukri, Chair of the European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza, an umbrella organisation of 30 NGOs across Europe.   
The MEPs present at the meeting were Roberto Goebbels, Alexandra Thein, Bairbre de Brún, Malika Benarab-Attou, Nessa Childers and  Helmut Scholz.   The delegation reported to President Buzek on the outcome of the recent visit to Gaza, in advance of his forthcoming meeting on the issue with EU Commission Vice President Catherine Ashton.   
The delegation stressed the humanitarian and political aspects of the situation faced by people in Gaza and the important role and responsibilities of the EU in this regard. The delegation emphasised that Baroness Ashton must go to Gaza and that the EU must act not only in terms of humanitarian aid but needs to play a bigger political role in the peace process.   
The people of Gaza need a strong voice and the EU should talk to all parties in the region. The EU also has an important role in helping to secure reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah and in ensuring that the siege of Gaza is lifted.  
The delegation were pleased that President Buzek accepted to convey the remarks of the delegation to Baroness Ashton and at his keen interest in seeing the European Parliament play a helpful role.
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