Javier Solana, EU High Representative for CFSP, calls for a return to calm and unity during his visit in the Palestinian Territories

During his visit in the Palestinian Territories on Thursday, 24 May 2007, Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), met in Gaza Mahmoud ABBAS, President of the Palestinian Authority, and Ziad Abu AMR, Foreign Minister. He also had a meeting with Salam FAYYAD, Minister of Finance, and Saeb EREKAT, Head of the Palestinian Negotiation Team.

At a joint press conference with President Abbas, that was held in Gaza, Javier Solana made the following remarks:

"I am very pleased to be here in Gaza. I wanted to come to be with you at this moment. I wanted to show solidarity with President Abbas and to be here in person.

We have talked about many topics, about violence between Palestinians. President Abbas is making huge efforts to find a way to stop the violence. He is having meetings with all factions and all the parties to try to improve the situation.

Tension has been going up too much, it must come down. The President is staying in Gaza for as long as it takes. The rocket attacks must stop. This violence leads nowhere and I think there is a feeling among Palestinians that violence does not lead anywhere.

We talked about economic aid. We will continue to work and try to solve the economic problem the Palestinians are facing. We also talked about the Rafah border crossing point. This is very important for you, in particular for you the people here in Gaza. We have been asked to stay and we have agreed to help you.

We also talked about Lebanon. I met Prime Minister Siniora on Tuesday in Beirut. I was there to show my support in a difficult moment and to help the Prime Minister in his efforts to calm a difficult situation.

We talked about the region as a whole. We must see how we can calm down the violence and return to a culture of politics and diplomacy.

I want to say that it is a great pleasure for me to be here. My presence in Gaza is a sign of the solidarity of the European Union with the Palestinian people.

Answering to a question by a journalist concerning the arrests by Israel of members of Hammas, Javier Solana said that he did not consider that the arrests of elected representatives were helpful.