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U.S. welcomes Israel's ease of Gaza blockade

A State Department spokesperson says that the U.S. "welcomes the general principles announced earlier today by the Israeli government," about easing the blockade of goods into Gaza.

"They reflect the type of changes we've been discussing with our Israeli friends and Senator Mitchell, who is in the region, will continue working on them in the coming days," Mark Toner, director of the State Department's press office, said today. "As these principles get further developed and implemented, we're hopeful that the situation in Gaza will improve. We want to see an expansion of the scope and types of goods allowed into Gaza to address the Palestinians' legitimate needs for sustained humanitarian assistance and regular access for reconstruction materials, while addressing Israel's legitimate security needs."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is meeting with Quartet Representative Tony Blair this afternoon, but the event is not open to press.