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EU agrees to revive Rafah mission

1 min

The European Union agreed in principle on Monday to revive an EU civilian mission at Rafah, a city in the southern Gaza Strip next to Egypt, but said it would need accords from all sides to press ahead, the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.

The Rafah crossing is the main entry point for aid from Egypt © Mena Today 

The European Union agreed in principle on Monday to revive an EU civilian mission at Rafah, a city in the southern Gaza Strip next to Egypt, but said it would need accords from all sides to press ahead, the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.

Speaking at a monthly meeting of EU foreign ministers, Borrell also accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of using false claims of antisemitism against the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his own political ends.

The bloc is considering reviving its European Union Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) Rafah, which has not been operational since 2007, when the Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas seized full control of Gaza.

The Rafah crossing is the main entry point for aid from Egypt, and has been closed since Israeli forces took control of it from the Gazan side nearly three weeks ago.

"They gave me green light, the political green light to reactivate EUBAM, our mission in Rafah. This could play a useful role in supporting the entry of people into Gaza, in and out," Borrell told reporters after the meeting that also saw key Arab ministers join the talks.

"But this has to be done in accordance with the Palestinian Authority, the Egyptians, and obviously Israel, Israel's authorities. We are not going to do that alone. We are not going to be the outsourcers of the security in the border. We are not a security company," he said, adding that the bloc would prepare technical plans for now.

Diplomats have said the mission was unlikely to be in place before hostilities in Rafah stopped.

By Andrew Gray and John Irish

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