Yvette Cooper (Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford) (Lab): I welcome the Foreign Secretary's recognition of the importance of lifting the blockade of Gaza. He will know the importance for the people of Gaza not just of lifting the blockade, but of being part of a viable Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel in a two-state solution. Therefore, what discussions did he have during his recent visit on the role of Gaza in the future peace process?
Mr Hague: Gaza plays, ultimately, a very important role in the peace process, because there cannot be a successful peace in the long term without its involvement and inclusion. The immediate priority is to get the peace process going again and the direct talks going, and of course I put the argument very strongly to Israeli leaders and on Israeli media that that requires a new freeze on Israeli settlement building on the west bank. That is the immediate issue, and in that regard the announcements that we have heard in the past 24 hours are extremely disappointing. The immediate priority is to get the direct talks going. A real settlement would have to involve Gaza as well.
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