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United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO)
24 February 2010
Readout of UN Special Coordinator Robert Serry’s meeting
with Israeli President Shimon Peres
Provided by Richard Miron, UNSCO Spokesperson
24 February 2010
UN Special Coordinator Robert Serry called on Israeli President Shimon Peres today to discuss efforts to resume Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, the situation in the West Bank, and the continuing crisis in Gaza.
At the outset of the meeting, President Peres indicated that Israel intended to fully respect religious rights in places of worship. Special Coordinator Serry, who had expressed his concern on the matter in a statement on Monday, noted President Peres’ reassurance and said he would convey it to the Secretary-General.
Special Coordinator Serry underscored UN efforts to support the resumption of meaningful negotiations. He and President Peres exchanged views on how best to ensure that negotiations could succeed.
Special Coordinator Serry and President Peres agreed on the importance of supporting statebuilding efforts in the West Bank. Mr. Serry appealed for further Israeli steps to enable expansion of Palestinian Authority control of areas of the West Bank.
On Gaza, Special Coordinator Serry underlined Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s appreciation for President Peres’ efforts, including in helping to facilitate the entry of glass into Gaza. However, he underscored the Secretary-General’s deep concern at the situation in Gaza. He stressed that the blockade of Gaza was undermining legitimate commercial activity while empowering an illicit tunnel economy.
While President Peres suggested that there were no humanitarian shortages, Special Coordinator Serry highlighted the lack of materials coming through legitimate crossings for economic recovery and reconstruction for the civilian population.
Special Coordinator Serry appealed for Israel to respond positively to the long-standing proposal of the Secretary-General to complete stalled UN construction projects in Gaza, and urged that the UN be more empowered to help the civilian population.
Special Coordinator Serry and President Peres also discussed the regional situation.
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Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO)
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