'Ceasefire even more urgent.' Sarkozy
Photo: AFP

Sarkozy: Hamas shares responsibility for civilian suffering

While condemning Israeli ground offensive, French president tells Lebanese newspapers 'we denounce with the same firmness Hamas' continuing rocket fire, which is an unacceptable provocation'

Hamas "bears a heavy responsibility in the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza," French President Nicolas Sarkozy told Lebanese newspapers in an interview out Monday.


While condemning the Israeli ground offensive itself, Sarkozy told the newspapers: "I want to say again here that we condemn with the same firmness (Hamas') continuing rocket fire, which is an unacceptable provocation.


"Hamas, which decided to break the truce and to resume rocket fire on Israel, bears a heavy responsibility in the suffering of the Palestinians of Gaza," he added.


Sarkozy's interview with the three dailies, An Nahar, As Safir and L'Orient le Jour, came ahead of a two-day tour of the region.


Sarkozy will travel to Israel, the West Bank and Egypt on Monday before heading to Syria and Lebanon on Tuesday to try to push for an end to the violence.


"The launching of the Israeli ground offensive makes the need to get a ceasefire even more urgent," said Sarkozy.


"This offensive, we have condemned along with our European partners, because it takes us that little bit further away from the changes of peace, and because it makes it more difficult to get aid to the people of Gaza.


"And I will say again to the Israeli authorities that it is absolutely essential that they let humanitarian aid through to Gaza," he added.


A French foreign ministry statement late Saturday condemned both Israel's decision to send ground troops into the Gaza Strip and Hamas' continued firing of rockets into Israel.


Tens of thousands of Israeli troops backed by tanks were battling Hamas Sunday, as the Palestinian death toll from the offensive to end militant rocket attacks passed 500.


פרסום ראשון: 01.04.09, 22:53
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