German and British leaders called for urgent action to end the hostilities in Gaza as German Foreign Minister Steinmeier returned to the region to seek a cease fire.
Merkel and Brown are worried about the humanitarian situation in Gaza
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said they would support moves designed to stop the flow of arms to Gaza and ease the humanitarian situation there.
The shelling of Gaza is in its 20th day
Speaking after talks in Berlin, they also promised to provide technical assistance to shore up security along Gaza's borders.
Addressing other issues as well, the two leaders also called on Ukraine and Russia to resolve their political differences so that gas supplies could be resumed to Europe, and pledged to work closely with the incoming US administration to solve the current economic crisis.
Steinmeier's Mideast shuttle
Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier returned to the Middle East early on Thursday, Jan. 15. The trip came just days after a previous visit, when he proposed a work plan to create conditions for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
Steinmeier met with Israeli president Shimon Peres
The German foreign minister met with Israeli President Shimon Peres in the morning, followed by talks with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
Call for humanitarian aid
Steinmeier is to travel to Cairo for talks with the Egyptian government on Thursday evening.
Shortly after landing in Tel Aviv, Steinmeier urged an end to the hostilities and called for humanitarian aid for the Gaza population.
"A permanent ceasefire could be achieved by starting with a humanitarian ceasefire. This ceasefire then has to be used to really provide aid," Steinmeier said.
On Wednesday Steinmeier and his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner called for an immediate end of fighting in Gaza.