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Foreign minister sees hope for Gaza peace plan

Switzerland is "hopeful" about the Gaza peace plan put forward by France and Egypt, Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey has said.

"The elements are on the table and there is hope that the parties can agree on a peace plan," she told French-language Swiss radio on Thursday.

She stressed her concern over the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, saying that this was where Switzerland could play an important role. She added that it was essential to provide access for emergency supplies.

Calmy-Rey also called for an independent inquiry into the shelling of a school on Tuesday, which left 40 people dead.

Meanwhile the International Committee of the Red Cross on Thursday accused Israeli forces of preventing rescue workers from reaching injured persons in a neighbourhood of Gaza city.

A statement from the group said it had found four small children next to their mothers' bodies four days after their home had been shelled. The children were too weak to stand, the group said. In all rescuers found 18 wounded people and 15 dead in three houses.


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