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Gaza crisis rears head at Davos talks


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Author Topic: Gaza crisis rears head at Davos talks  (Read 42 times)
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« on: January 30, 2009, 07:00:22 pm »

DAVOS, Switzerland - Turkey's prime minister has stormed off the stage in anger at the World Economic Forum today after reproaching Israel's president over the Gaza offensive by saying "You kill people."

The packed audience, which included President Barack Obama's close adviser Valerie Jarrett, appeared stunned as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli President Shimon Peres raised their voices and traded accusations.

Peres was passionate in his defence of Israel's three-week offensive against Hamas militants, launched in reaction to eight years of rocket fire aimed at Israeli territory.

As he spoke, Peres often turned toward Erdogan, who in his remarks had criticized the Israeli blockade of Gaza, saying it was an "open air prison, isolated from the rest of the world" and referred to the Palestinian death toll of about 1,300, more than half of those civilians. Thirteen Israelis also died.

"Why did they fire rockets? There was no siege against Gaza," Peres said, his voice rising in emotion. "Why did they fight us, what did they want? There was never a day of starvation in Gaza."

The heated debate with Israel and Turkey at the center was significant because of the key role Turkey has played as a moderator between Israel and Syria.

The confrontation received attention in Turkey and thousands of Erdogan supporters gave him a hero's welcome as he arrived home in Istanbul hours later.

During the debate, Erdogan appeared to express a sense of disappointment when he recounted how he had met with the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert days before the offensive, and believed they were close to reaching terms for a face-to-face meeting with Syrian leaders.

more:  http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10554379&pnum=0
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