Israel won't allow Gaza port without control

Israel will not allow a seaport to be built in the Gaza Strip unless control of incoming and outgoing shipments established, a junior minister responsible for economic negotiations with the Palestinians told.

"We will not let this port be an open port no matter what. We want to control what comes in and what goes out," Haim Ramon told.

"If we can't reach an agreement on security arrangements, this port will not be built," said the minister from the left-wing Labour party.

Discussions between the Israelis and the Palestinians, brokered by international mediator James Wolfensohn, have yet to yield an agreement on a port, re-opening Gaza's airport and land crossings to Egypt and the West Bank.

In 2001, a Dutch-French consortium scrapped plans to build a port in the Gaza Strip, citing security problems in the area, which would have been financed by The Hague, Paris and the European Investment Bank, the AFP reports.

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