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Report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization
Supplement No. 1 (A/56/1)
Achieving peace and security
28. In the Middle East, the deteriorating situation in the region, resulting in the worst crisis since the signing of the Oslo Agreement in 1993, remains a source of great concern for the international community. The outbreak of violence in the occupied Palestinian territory and in Israel late in September 2000 has brought extensive loss of life and serious decline of the economic conditions on both sides, as well as a devastating deterioration of the humanitarian situation for the Palestinians. In view of the gravity of the situation and its negative implications for international peace and security, I have devoted much of my personal attention to this issue. I have maintained close and regular contacts with the parties and other leaders in the region and the international community to find a way forward. I visited the region in October 2000 to explore avenues to end the violence and to revive the peace process. I worked with the parties and the leaders of the United States of America, the European Union, Egypt and Jordan to reach an understanding at the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit on the steps required to end the confrontation. The report of the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-finding Committee, known as the Mitchell report, which was released in April, provided a viable basis for a return to the negotiating table, and I fully endorsed its recommendations. In June 2001, I went again to the Middle East to encourage the parties to consolidate the ceasefire agreement and move towards full implementation of the Mitchell report.
29. The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians can be resolved only through a political settlement. To this end, I once again urge both sides to end violence, adhere to the security agreements already agreed upon and restart a viable political process leading to peace and reconciliation.
30. The dramatic developments during the year under review and the tragic loss of life have underlined the urgency of reaching a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Middle East conflict on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).
Delivering humanitarian services and dealing with underfunded emergencies
96. During the year under review, humanitarian assistance from the United Nations has reached a number of vulnerable populations, in Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Indonesia, Liberia, Mongolia, Mozambique, the occupied Palestinian territory, the Russian Federation, Sierra Leone, Somalia, the Sudan, Tajikistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Great Lakes region in Africa, among others.
108. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East provides education, health, relief and social services, and implements income-generation programmes aimed at over 4 million refugees. Funding has not kept pace with the rapidly growing demand for services in this area, however. On the basis of donor pledges so far, the Agency faces an estimated deficit of $67 million against a budget of $311 million approved by the General Assembly. The deficit seriously jeopardizes the quality and extent of the Agency’s services.