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EU voices concern over Israeli attacks in Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) holds a joint press conference with High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Council Federica Mogherini (R) at the European Council headquarters within the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, Belgium on 11 December 2017. [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) holds a joint press conference with High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Council Federica Mogherini (R) at the European Council headquarters within the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, Belgium on 11 December 2017. [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Monday voiced concerns over the heaviest rocket fire and Israeli attacks in the blockaded Gaza Strip since 2014, Anadolu reports.

In a press conference following an EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting, Mogherini said: “The situation in the blockaded Gaza Strip, which is not in our agenda, was discussed during the meeting.

“We have seen very worrying escalation with the heaviest rocket fire and Israeli attacks since 2014.”

Mogherini also said: “We all agreed to use all our channels to urge the parties to take a step back, stop the violence, prevent another war and alleviate the situation for the people on the ground.”

Speaking on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, Mogherini said: “We would stress the need to have full denuclearization, irreversible denuclearization and verified denuclearization before any sanction is lifted. So we will keep our economic pressure there.

“If I can give you an example, with Iran we lifted the nuclear-related sanctions not just at the end of the twelve years of negotiation on the agreement, but after the agreement was implemented on the Iranian side,” she said.

READ: EU denies Netanyahu accusation of interfering in Israeli legislation

Speaking about Iran nuclear deal, Mogherini said: “The Foreign Affairs Council has endorsed the update of the blocking statute’s annex proposed by the European Commission following the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.”

Cartoon – Gazans suffer at the hands of Israel

“It gives us a consistent step forward in the set of measures that the European Union has put in place to make sure that the economic benefits deriving from the nuclear deal can continue to be in place for Iran,” she added.

The “blocking statute” aims at preserving the nuclear deal by preventing EU companies from complying with U.S sanctions in order to annul foreign court rulings against them and permit them to recover damages from any potential penalties.

In May, US President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the nuclear deal, which was signed in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 group of nations (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany).

The 2015 deal places restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief.

During his electoral campaign in 2016, Trump had criticized the agreement, describing it as the “worst deal” he had ever seen.

Other members of the P5+1, however, say the deal in its current form represents the best means of reigning in Iran’s nuclear program.

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