Russia, EU demand flotilla inquiry, Gaza opening
ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia |
ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia (Reuters) - Russia and the European Union condemned on Tuesday Israel's use of deadly force in the storming of an aid flotilla and urged the opening of crossings into Gaza.
In a joint declaration during a Russia-EU summit in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton demanded a "full and impartial inquiry".
"The death of people is irreparable and absolutely unjustified," Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told a news conference with EU leaders.
EU President Herman Van Rompuy called the deaths "inexplicable".
"We regret the loss of life, condemn the use of violence and demand an immediate, full and impartial investigation," he said.
"I appeal for a durable solution to be found to the situation in Gaza," Van Rompuy said, referring to the enclave run by Hamas Islamists.
Their joint declaration added: "The EU and Russia call for immediate opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and people to and from Gaza."
The remarks were a show of solidarity between the European Union and Moscow, which has traditionally supported the Palestinians but has also cultivated closer ties with Israel in recent years.
Along with the United States and United Nations, Russia and the EU are members of the international "quartet" seeking Middle East peace. In separate statements on Monday, both had condemned Israel's use of force and criticized the blockade on Gaza.
(Additional reporting by Conor Humphries; Writing by Steve Gutterman; editing by Maria Golovnina)
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