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Middle East

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 22 May 2003

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To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development if he will place in the Library a copy of the memorandum sent during the week commencing Monday 12 May to the Quartet envoys by international development agencies operating in the Occupied Palestinian Territories concerning the impact of restrictions on their freedom of movement and ability to operate imposed by the Israeli Government since 1 April 2003; if he will list the restrictions involved; and what his assessment is of their impact. [114902]

I have placed in the libraries of both Houses copies of the 12 May note by the Association of International Development Agencies (Palestinian Territories) and the United Nations press release of 18 May on this subject.These documents list the restrictions involved. In particular they highlight the difficulties for people without diplomatic passports in entering the Gaza Strip. These restrictions are seriously impeding the ability of humanitarian agencies to carry out their work, in the context of an already deteriorating humanitarian situation.This is unacceptable. The British Government continues to make representations to the Government of Israel, bilaterally, through the EU, and with our other partners in the international community.