HIGHLIGHTS OF DEVELOPMENTS IN THE U.N. SYSTEM
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
There was no noon briefing today.
A briefing on Gaza is scheduled for noon tomorrow with John Holmes, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, and by video-link from Gaza, Karen AbuZayd, Commissioner-General of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
GAZA: BAN KI-MOON HOLDS TELECONFERENCE WITH QUARTET PRINCIPALS
- Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon held a teleconference this morning on the situation in Gaza with the principals of the Middle East Quartet.
- According to a read-out of the teleconference, "the Quartet principals held a conference call on December 30, 2008 on the situation in Gaza and southern Israel. They called for an immediate ceasefire that would be fully respected. They called on all parties to address the serious humanitarian and economic needs in Gaza and to take necessary measures to ensure the continuous provision of humanitarian supplies. They agreed on the urgent need for Israelis and Palestinians to continue on the road to peace. They intend to remain in close touch."
- Participating in the teleconference were United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union Javier Solana, European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, and Quartet Representative Tony Blair.
- Meanwhile, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza was partially open today for mainly humanitarian supplies. All other crossings, including the grains conveyor belt at Karni and the Nahal Oz fuel pipelines, remain closed.
- The Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) reports that a total of 90 truckloads, including 53 for aid agencies, were allowed to enter Gaza through Kerem Shalom today. Included were 15 trucks of flour for the World Food Programme (WFP) and 22 of food and medical supplies for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
- OCHA adds that, at 3:00 this morning, the Gaza power plant was forced to turn its one operating turbine off due to the lack of fuel. As a result, more than 650,000 people in Central and Northern Gaza, including Gaza City, are currently experiencing power cuts lasting 16 hours per day.
- Yesterday, a total of 55 truckloads, including 28 for humanitarian aid agencies and five ambulances, were allowed entry into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing. The 55 trucks included 15 of flour for WFP, as well as 9 of rice and 4 of medical supplies for UNRWA.
- But OCHA also reports that, since 26 December, no type of fuel or wheat has entered Gaza.
- Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has urged Israel to ensure the immediate provision of fuel and critical life-saving and trauma care supplies. The agency notes that there are continuing shortages of drugs and medical equipment in Gaza hospitals. According to WHO, hundreds of wounded people, including women, children and the elderly, lie in hospitals that already lack basic supplies.
- WHO has secured, in collaboration with several Member States, the dispatch of medical kits to cover surgical and trauma interventions. WHO is following up with the Palestinian and Israeli authorities to ensure that health relief supplies, including the medical kits already on hand, reach those who need them.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
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New York, NY 10017