Spain to provide control of Egypt-Gaza border

Spain's foreign minister on Wednesday said Spain was studying the possibility of helping police the border separating Egypt from Gaza. Israel's cabinet on Tuesday approved the deployment of European inspectors on that frontier following its pullout from Gaza. Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos told a news conference that Spain was willing to support an international effort to promote peace in the region.

Moratinos said that peace was "not only necessary, it's possible."

At issue is the Rafah terminal on the Gaza-Egypt border, Gaza's main gate to the world, which was patrolled by Israel until its withdrawal.

In brokering new arrangements, U.S. mediator James Wolfensohn has tried to give Palestinians freedom of movement while also addressing Israel's concerns about a possible influx of weapons and militants into Gaza, the AP reports.

Under the deal presented to and approved by Israel's Security Cabinet on Tuesday, international inspectors would be deployed at Rafah in addition to Egyptian and Palestinian border personnel.

Israel and the Palestinians still disagree on the level of authority accorded to inspectors, the Palestinians consider them advisers, while Israel wants them to have the power to veto entries should need arise.

"Spain, within the European Union, is prepared to contribute and that is why we are exploring the possibility of participating in border controls between Gaza and Egypt following an accord between Israelis, Palestinians and Egyptians," said Moratinos.

"Only with respect, and an understanding of differences between peoples, can we build a future with peace, freedom and progress," said Moratinos.


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