Bildt Pays Surprise Visit to Gaza
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt is in Gaza on a surprise visit. Arriving on Tuesday morning, Bildt took time to witness for himself some heavily hit areas, touring a factory and a hospital damaged by Israeli bombing.
Bildt told Swedish Radio News that the reason for the visit was to see what had happened and hear the stories first hand. The hope is that the foundation for a peace process may be laid so that the situation will not be repeated.
While in Gaza, Bildt met with both UN representatives and hospital officials but there were no plans to meet with representatives of the Hamas Government which has had control over the area since June 2007. Bildt said that he was not in the area to begin a dialogue with Hamas. Rather, he hoped that the Palestinians would start speaking differently to each other.
”They are the ones that must speak to each other so that Gaza and the West Bank don’t take separate paths, and to avoid Palestine never achieving an independent state,” said Bildt on Tuesday afternoon.
Further, Bildt told Swedish Radio News that it is obvious that attacks have been made, causing damage that have nothing to do with military targets.
From the beginning of the recent struggles, Bildt has criticised the situation in Gaza and has urged Israel to resume trade over the border so that normality can return to the area. He reiterated this to Swedish Radio News and said that there can be no future for Gaza unless the border is opened.
Bildt is expected to return to Israel later on Tuesday.