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Israel bars German minister from Gaza.

German Development Aid Minister Dirk Niebel was denied entry into the Gaza Strip during his current visit to Israel, German officials said Saturday evening.

A ministry spokesman said talks had continued to the last moment with Israeli officials over NiebelAAEs aim to visit the Palestinian areas.

Niebel, who arrived in Israel earlier Saturday, had hoped to visit a sewage treatment plant being financed with German development aid.

Speaking on the second German TV network ZDF program

AoheuteAo (today) Saturday evening, Niebel expressed his anger about being denied entry.

AoI would have wished for a clear political signal would be sent for an opening and for transparency,Ao said Niebel, of GermanyAAEs liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP).

AoSometimes the Israeli government does not make it easy for its friends to explain why it behaves the way it does,Ao he added.

Niebel said that IsraelAAEs latest announcement on easing the Gaza blockade was Aonot sufficientAo and that Israel must Aonow deliverAo on its pledge.

Beyond that, the government in Jerusalem should be Aoclear about how Israel, within an international context, wants to cooperate with

its friends in the future as well,Ao the German minister said.

Earlier Saturday, the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported that the German parliament is to issue a cross-party demand that Israel allow humanitarian aid to reach the Gaza Strip by sea.

According to the newspaper, a motion opposing IsraelAAEs blockade of Gaza had the support of Chancellor Angela MerkelAAEs government coalition parties, as well as the opposition Social Democrats (SPD) and the Green Party.

AoThe living conditions for the civil population in Gaza must urgently be improved,Ao the motion reportedly stated.

AoIsraelAAEs Gaza blockade is effectively a blockade of the United Nations,Ao the GreensAAE foreign spokeswoman Kerstin Mueller told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, adding: AoThis is unacceptable.Ao

Mueller said Israel had to give the United Nations sea access to Gaza, so aid could be delivered Aoquickly and unbureaucraticallyAo.

The motion reportedly calls upon the EUAAEs foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to facilitate negotiations between Israel and the UN.


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Publication:The Star (Amman, Jordan)
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Jun 21, 2010
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