HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
U.N. TRUCKS CARRYING GOODS ENTER GAZA FROM ISRAEL
- The Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) reports that some goods were able to enter Gaza from Israel today. Those goods included ten trucks of flour for the World Food Programme.
- For its part, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) managed to get in three trucks of tinned meat and three of cooking oil. But this is still not enough, according to UNRWA.
- Meanwhile, in New York, UNRWA's annual pledging conference will be held Wednesday morning at 11:00 a.m. in Conference Room 4. UNRWA’s general budget requirements for 2009 amount to nearly $550 million. That sum covers the costs of the Agency’s education, health, social support and microfinance services. The Secretary-General has urged Member States to fully fund the budget so that UNRWA can maintain its essential services for 4.6 million registered Palestine refugees.
- Asked about the Secretary-General’s reaction to the blocking of shipments of aid into Gaza, the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretary-General, while not commenting on that specific issue, has repeatedly called for an easing of humanitarian aid into Gaza. In particular, she said, he has asked for an opening of the crossing points so that aid can reach the population.
- Asked about the situation of Palestinian prisoners, she said that the Secretary-General has called for the release of prisoners.
MIDDLE EAST QUARTET MEETING TO BE HELD NEXT WEEK AT UNHQ
- In response to a question, the Spokeswoman confirmed that the Quartet will be meeting at UN Headquarters on 15 December, in the afternoon. It will be followed by a press conference in Conference Room 4 at 4:00 pm.
- The Secretary-General will then host Quartet members and a number of Arab foreign ministers for a discussion, Montas added.