Lavrov condemns Gaza blockade

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June 3, 2010, 9:39 a.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Interfax-Ukraine
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday condemned the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, and in reference to Monday's deadly Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, said "blood needed to be shed to make the international community pay closer attention to the intolerable position" of the Gaza population. "In regard to the problems in the Gaza Strip, we have more than once drawn the attention of the world community to them and said that it is an intolerable situation where the blockade is going on and where efforts to restore Palestinian unity are unsuccessful," Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow.

"Attempts to block these efforts" are also intolerable, he said. "I am enormously sorry that blood needed to be shed to make the international community pay closer attention to the intolerable position in which the population in the Gaza Strip has found itself."

He expressed confidence that Monday's raid, which claimed nine lives, would make the international community pay closer attention to appeals by the Quartet mediators - the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia - in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that more efforts would be made to break the Gaza deadlock.

"As regards Russian efforts, we have repeatedly provided specialized humanitarian aid for the population of the Gaza Strip, and we will continue to provide such aid via all our ministries and agencies authorized to handle this, including the Ministry of Emergency Situations," Lavrov said.

On the Israeli raid on the aid flotilla, he said: "Our principle is that a very careful investigation is needed of what happened. What happened in international waters, let me emphasize specially. And I think that there should be measures to ensure a positive, quick response to the decision of the UN Security Council," he said.
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