13 September 2006 – Following an agreement between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas on forming a unity Government, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today that the diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East, which includes the United Nations, will meet next week to discuss these developments and possible ways to provide humanitarian assistance to the occupied territory.
“[On Monday] I got a call from President Abbas to tell me that they have reached an agreement with Hamas… He also went on to say that the programme they have adopted requires all members of the Government to accept the programme of the Palestine Liberation Organization and all the agreements they had entered into earlier.”
“He felt this decision should satisfy the requirements and the conditions demanded by the international community. If that is indeed the case, he should really allow the international community and the donor community to move ahead very quickly and provide the assistance that the Palestinian people need.”
International donors have baulked at funding the Hamas-led Palestinian Government because it has yet to renounce violence and the continuing conflict with Israel has led to what Mr. Annan described as a “very desperate and serious situation” in the occupied territory.
“We have a temporary mechanism, which allows some money to go in, but to pay for humanitarian services, but not for salaries. It’s become a very complex situation that the Quartet will be looking at when we meet next week to review the impact of our own policies and what has happened on the ground.”
The diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East – comprising the UN, United States, European Union (EU) and the Russian Federation – are sponsoring the Road Map plan for a two-State solution, with Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace. However, Mr. Annan lamented its lack of progress.
“I think the Road Map could have been implemented much faster, or we had hoped it would have been implemented much faster. Alas, it has not been. We are going to meet here next week, and we are meeting at a very critical time for the people in Palestine.”
Over the past few months there have been several high-level UN meetings on the worsening plight of the Palestinians in the occupied territory and last week a UN conference of Civil Society in Support of the Palestinian People adopted a plan of action aimed at addressing their plight, and ahead of next year’s 40th anniversary of the occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.