10 July 2008 – With Israel and Gaza declaring a halt in fighting last month, a senior United Nations official today travelled to Gaza to assess how the world body can restart stalled humanitarian programmes in that area of the occupied Palestinian territory.
Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO), visited housing, environmental and sanitation works projects in Khan Yunis, as well as witnessed first-hand the impact of the sewage problem on Gaza.
According to UNSCO, the current lull in violence in Gaza provides an opportunity to boost the situation there, with a resumption of UN projects helping to consolidate the recent calm.
Yesterday, the Coordinator wrapped up a series of discussions in Cairo, Egypt, and Amman, Jordan, following earlier talks with President Mahmoud Abbas and senior Israeli officials.
UNSCO was established in 1994 following the signing of the Oslo Accord, and since 2002, the Special Coordinator has been the Secretary-General’s envoy in the Middle East Quartet, comprising the UN, the United States, the European Union and Russia.