Fri, February 20, 2009
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Senator Kerry visits Gaza

2009-02-20 06:40:58 GMT2009-02-20 14:40:58 (Beijing Time)  Reuters

INTRO: John Kerry makes a rare visit to the Gaza strip with other members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

MOREINFO: During his visit, Kerry visited an American International school in Gaza and he plans to visit UN facilities in the region. The Committee did not make any plans to meet with Hamas officials, in keeping with the United States long-standing policy of no contact with the group.

SCRIPT:

The head of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee crosses over from Israel into northern Gaza.

For Senator John Kerry it was a rare visit to the region.

Officials said his trip is one of the highest profile visits to Gaza in almost nine years, since the Palestinian uprising against Israel.

Kerry visited the American International School, it had been hit during Israel's 22 day bombardment of the coastal enclave.

In keeping with U.S policy the senator won't be holding talks with Hamas and said any nation undergoing rocket attacks would respond.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) US SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN SENATOR JOHN KERRY SAYING:

"Your political leadership needs to understand that any nation that has rockets coming in to it over many years, threatening its citizens is going to respond."

But speaking in Israel he did say there are hopes for peace.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) US SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN SENATOR JOHN KERRY SAYING:

"None of us have any illusions that there is a place for terrorists at the table. People need to change their attitude, people need to change their approach, and we're hopeful that this new opportunity will provide us with a chance to explore the possibilities of real peace."

The three Democrats in the envoy will visit UN facilities and speak with aid groups.

Basmah Fahim, Reuters.

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