- Title: CZECH REPUBLIC: Palestinian PM Fayyad on state visit
- Date: 26th June 2008
- Summary: TOPOLANEK AND FAYYAD SHAKING HANDS IN FRONT OF FLAGS OF BOTH COUNTRIES / PHOTO-OP TOPOLANEK AND FAYYAD ENTER MEETING HALL / SEATED WITH REPRESENTATIVES FROM BOTH COUNTRIES VARIOUS OF DELEGATION MEETING
- Embargoed: 11th July 2008 13:00
- Location: Czech Republic
- Country: Czech Republic
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVADBABFS34DGUTW22WZ89X4N7H6
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: As Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad commenced bilateral talks with his Czech counterpart on Thursday (June 26) in Prague, a rocket fired into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip furthered the strain on the week-old truce between the two sides.
Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a makeshift rocket into southern Israel, diminishing hopes for the already frail truce as Israel kept border crossings into the Hamas-ruled territory closed.
During a joint news conference with Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, Fayyad said Gaza's border crossings must be re-opened and stressed the importance of the truce.
"It is essential for that to happen under any condition. Needless to say, doing so would help, I believe, re-inforce the truce as we described it. That's important because the closure, or complete closure of Gaza, is actually producing the situation where we have 1.5 million of our people who live there with the sense of not much to lose. And there is a situation that has got to end and the only way it can is by re-opening of the crossings, which I would remind everyone, the PA (Palestinian Authority) has supported and called for, for a long time and said, and stated, and maintained, that that can and should be done with PA management on the Palestinian side of the crossings,'' Fayyad said.
Israel and the Palestinians both traded blame for violations of the ceasefire Egypt brokered in hopes of furthering U.S.-backed peace talks that have shown little sign of progress.
Rocket attacks have prompted Israel to keep Gaza crossings closed for a second consecutive day. Under the ceasefire, the flow of goods into the territory is meant to rise gradually.
Czech Prime Minister Topolanek said it was important for Israel to end settlement building.
"During my visit to Israel, I was speaking to Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Olmert and I pointed out to them the continuing of (building) settlements is against the Annapolis convention,'' Topolanek said in the news conference. "No one cares about the natural widening of their settlements but what matters is the building of new settlements,'' he added.
Fayyad's visit to the Czech Republic is the first in history. The visit comes after the Czech Republic recently announced the government in Prague supports a two-nation deal, the establishment of Palestine and Israel.
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