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EU Calls For Easing Of Gaza Blockade

European Commissioner for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton.
European Commissioner for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton said during a visit to Gaza that the European Union wants Israel to ease its blockade on Gaza.

Speaking to reporters today, she said the EU position is very clear -- that people should be able to "move around freely or to see goods not only coming into Gaza but exports coming out of Gaza."

Ashton promised to address the issue in talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later today, but said the "best option" for Gaza is to "open the land crossings."

Several ships carrying humanitarian aid have attempted to break Israel's blockade recently. A deadly Israeli raid on a Turkish aid flotilla on May 31 prompted international outcry.

Ashton has no talks scheduled with Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip. It is the policy chief's second trip to Gaza in four months.

compiled from agency reports