Question of Palestine home
7 May 2002
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FRED ECKHARD
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, May 7, 2002
ARAFAT ASSURES UN ENVOY OF PALESTINIAN WORK ON REFORM
The Secretary-General's Special Coordiantor for the Middle East Peace Process, Terje Roed-Larsen, met today in Ramallah with Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.
After the half-hour meeting, Larsen told reporters that Arafat had agreed to accelerate reform of the Palestinian Authority along the lines recommended by the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations in a report, which came out in August 1999.
Larsen said that Arafat had invited the special envoys of the “Quartet” – which consists of the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and the Russian Federation – to meet with him this Thursday to discuss reform, and specifically implementation of the report on ways to strengthen Palestinian institutions.
Asked about the Council on Foreign Relations report, the Spokesman said it had contained a number of specific recommendations on reform of Palestinian institutions. The Palestinians had worked with the United Nations, the World Bank and other parties to implement those recommendations, before the current violence took place and halted that process.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY BEGINS DEBATE ON PALESTINIAN QUESTION
At 10:30 this morning, the General Assembly resumed its 10
Emergency Special Session on the Middle East, including the question of Palestine. A draft resolution is expected to be considered later today as part of the Special Session.
Asked whether the Secretary-General might reconstitute his fact-finding team to Jenin, which was disbanded last week, the Spokesman said he didn’t want to speculate on what might bring that about. He noted that the team could be called back at any time.
UNDP, OTHERS ASSESS DAMAGE TO PALESTINIAN TOWNS
The UN Development Programme (UNDP
), along with the World Bank
and several donor governments, has been carrying out a damage assessment for the West Bank and Gaza following the recent Israeli incursions, which it expects to finalize by next Wednesday, May 15.
Today, Tim Rothermel, the Special Representative of the UNDP Administrator for the Programme for Assistance to the Palestinian People, said that a rough estimate of total damage in the West Bank could range between $300 million and $400 million. The UNDP has already come up with estimates for the total damage to Nablus – which is estimated at $110 million – and Qalqilya, which suffered some $3.5 million worth of damage.
UNDP officials estimate that the Palestinian Authority’s central institutions in Ramallah suffered damages to buildings and equipment worth approximately $16 million. UNDP has earmarked $1.5 million dollars for a recovery programme for the Palestinian Authority institutions. Rothermel said, “Without an efficient and transparent Palestinian public administration, there will be no foundation for peace in the occupied Palestinian territories.”
The World Food Programme, meanwhile, today gave the preliminary results of its own assessment mission for the food situation in Jenin, and it estimates that, including refugees, some 35,000 people in the Governorate of Jenin are in urgent need of food assistance. Around 90 percent of all commerce with Israel has been lost due to recent closures, while WFP adds that a total of 4,320 people in the Jenin area are now homeless.