18 Jul 2010

EU foreign policy chief visits Gaza

10:09 pm on 18 July 2010

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, has arrived in Gaza, the most senior foreign representative to visit the territory since Israel eased restrictions on goods allowed in the Gaza Strip.

She will not have any official meetings with Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls Gaza but whose authority is not recognised by the EU, Israel or the United States.

Baroness Ashton has called for Gaza's borders to be opened beyond Israel's limited easing of the blockade.

Her brief trip is expected to focus on Gaza's economy which has been devastated by the blockade, exports are still banned and there is 40% unemployment.