UN could deploy peacekeepers in Gaza: Lavrov

By RIA Novosti

Moscow : Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday he did not rule out UN peacekeepers being sent to the Gaza Strip if all sides to the conflict agree.

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The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, held talks earlier Friday with the UN Security Council, at which he proposed deploying a peacekeeping force in Gaza, which is now fully under the control of Islamist group Hamas following six days of fighting.

"The idea of sending multinational forces to the region will demand the consent of all interested sides, and all Palestinians, including Fatah and Hamas", Lavrov told journalists.

The suggestion that peacekeepers could be deployed inside the Gaza Strip was earlier dismissed by Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. She said the proposal was not relevant now that "Hamas controls everything," but that forces could be deployed along Egypt's border with Gaza to stop weapons smuggling.

The foreign minister of Belgium, which holds the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council, also rejected the idea of a peacekeeping force in Gaza as unrealistic.

Islamist militant group Hamas's string of recent victories in Gaza, where it has taken control of the presidential compound and all key security strongholds, suggests the likelihood that the Palestinian territories will be permanently split into an isolated Hamas-led Islamic state in Gaza and a Fatah-led state in the West Bank.