Mitchell urges Abbas role to ease Gaza blockade

RAMALLAH, West Bank  – U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell called on Thursday for an opening of trade crossings into the Gaza Strip with the involvement of the Western-backed Palestinian Authority.

Following talks in Ramallah with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is at odds with Gaza’s ruling Islamist movement Hamas, Mitchell told reporters: “To be successful in preventing the illicit traffic of arms into Gaza there must be a mechanism to allow the flow of legal goods, and that should be with the participation of the Palestinian Authority.”

Israel has imposed a tight blockade on the coastal enclave, saying it needs to prevent Hamas acquiring arms.

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