5 May 2009 – The top United Nations envoy to the Middle East today called for Palestinian factions to put their differences behind them and for urgent rebuilding to begin in Gaza to prevent the unravelling of the fragile calm in the area.
In meetings with senior Egyptian officials in Cairo, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry discussed his counterparts’ work towards achieving Palestinian reconciliation, conditions in the Gaza Strip, settlement activity in the West Bank, the situation in Jerusalem, and prospects for the resumption of credible and sincere efforts for a two-State solution.
“Reconciliation is the way out of the impasse on the Palestinian side,” Mr. Serry said in a news release, following meetings with Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Minister Omar Suleiman and Secretary-General of the League of Arab States Amre Moussa.
“Egypt’s reconciliation efforts need full support, and I urge all Palestinian factions to put national interest first and find a way forward so that the suffering of ordinary people and the many political challenges can be addressed,” he added.
Mr. Serry also stressed the determination of the UN to provide more than food and medicine to the people of Gaza. “We have plans to help Gazans rebuild their shattered lives, starting with people whose homes have been damaged or destroyed and we want to get projects up and running.”
To kick-start the economy in Gaza, where Israel carried out a three-week military operation earlier this year with the stated aim of ending rocket attacks by Hamas and other groups, Mr. Serry underscored the importance of opening crossings to allow reconstruction and building materials to enter the area.
“I believe there is a strong consensus in the international community that there must be transformative change on the ground and an irreversible and vigorous drive to reach an agreement to end the occupation and end the conflict,” he stated.