[Sinn Fein]

21 September 2002

Siege of Ramallah and Yasser Arafat' headquarters must end

Sinn Fein Chairperson and MLA for Foyle Mitchel McLaughlin has called on Israel to immediately end their siege of Ramallah and to stop their bombing of Yasser Arafat's headquarters. Mr. McLaughlin said:

"Over the last 48 hours people throughout the world have watched with deep concern as the Israeli Army has engaged in sustained attacks on Yasser Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah.

"The daily violence in the Middle East is making the task of building a sustainable peace in that region all the more difficult. Ariel Sharon's time in power has been marked by repressive actions. The suicide attacks against Israeli civilians are reprehensible and we call for them to end but so too is the invasion by Israel of Palestinian territory, the attacks against Palestinians and their homes and the deliberate targeting of Palestinian leaders.

"Calm voices need to be heard at this time. I am calling on the Irish government to use its influence within the EU and the United Nations to assist in a return to dialogue between Israel and the Palestine Authority."ENDS

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