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23 July 2014
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FARHAN HAQ, DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 23 JULY 2014
MIDDLE EAST: VISITING ISRAEL, SAUDI ARABIA AND JORDAN, SECRETARY-GENERAL CONTINUES EFFORTS TOWARDS CEASEFIRE
The Secretary-General travelled to Saudi Arabia from Amman, Jordan, where he met with King
Abdullah as he continued his efforts to push for a cease-fire in Israel and Gaza. He told reporters that he came to Jordan with a heavy heart, knowing that so many people have been killed and wounded in Gaza. He said that over a recent two-day period, one Palestinian child had been killed every hour. The Secretary-General said that he thanked Jordan’s Government and people for the humanitarian assistance given to Gaza.
Earlier today, he met in Jerusalem with Israeli President Shimon Peres and
said to the press
that the violence must stop now. He added that it is important for dialogue to be resumed between Israelis and Palestinians, saying that, whatever the obstacles, they share a common future.
The Secretary-General also held separate
this morning with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. In those meetings, the Secretary-General reiterated his call for an immediate cease-fire, without conditions. He stressed the need to alleviate the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza. Once a cease-fire is in place, the Secretary-General underscored the urgent need to address the underlying issues. He stressed the importance of ensuring the unhindered freedom of movement for humanitarian actors and their operations.
The Secretary-General met with US Secretary of State John Kerry before leaving Israel for Jordan. He said in
after that meeting that this is the 15th day since the crisis began, and that we do not have time to lose.
Asked about the Secretary-General’s use of a Qatari-chartered plane for the first part of his travel, the Spokesman reiterated that the in-kind contribution by a Member State was made because of the need to travel to the region on short notice. He added that the Secretary-General has been dealing equally and impartially with a wide number of Member States as he travels through the region, trying to obtain a halt to the fighting.
Asked whether the Secretary-General was hopeful that there would be a ceasefire, Haq said that the Secretary-General was one of many officials working to build support behind the Egyptian-led initiative and he noted the increasing momentum of diplomatic efforts.
NEARLY THREE QUARTERS OF THOSE KILLED IN MIDDLE EAST ARE CIVILIANS, SAYS U.N. RIGHTS CHIEF
The High Commissioner for
, Navi Pillay, addressed the Human Rights Council at its special session today on the Occupied Palestinian Territory and discussed the situation in Gaza and Israel.
She said that, according to preliminary UN figures, around 74 percent of those killed so far were civilians, and thousands more have been injured. Those numbers have climbed dramatically since Israel’s ground operations began on 17th of July. Hundreds of homes and other civilian buildings, such as schools, have been destroyed or severely damaged in Gaza, and more than 140,000 Palestinians have been displaced as a result.
Ms. Pillay added that two Israeli civilians have also lost their lives, and between 17 and 32 others have been reported injured as a result of rockets and other projectiles fired from Gaza. Also, 27 Israeli soldiers have been killed during military operations in Gaza.
Asked whether the Secretary-General agreed with Ms. Pillay’s views that war crimes may have been committed, the Spokesman noted that the Secretary-General had talked about the need for accountability. The actions by the parties on the ground would require further investigation.