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6 August 2014
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FARHAN HAQ, DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 6 AUGUST 2014
SECRETARY-GENERAL: PRICE OF GAZA CEASEFIRE ‘ALMOST TOO MUCH TO BEAR’
at today’s informal session of the
on Gaza, telling the Member States that it seems that the long-overdue ceasefire there is holding. For the moment, he said, the near constant firing of Hamas rockets and Israeli missiles and mortars has subsided.
The Secretary-General added that we cannot rest as the suffering continues. This ceasefire has come at a price that is almost too much to bear.
He said that we must spare no effort to turn the current calm into a durable ceasefire that addresses the underlying issues of the conflict: ending rocket fire from Gaza, weapons smuggling, opening the crossings, lifting the blockade and bringing Gaza back under one Palestinian Government that accepts and adheres to the PLO commitments.
He also discussed the attacks that hit UN premises and emphasized that the UN flag must be respected and assure protection to those in need. UN shelters must be safe zones, not combat zones.
The Secretary-General thanked UN staff in Gaza for their bravery and sacrifice and paid tribute to the staff members who have died during the conflict. Tomorrow, he said, the UN flag will be flown at half-mast in their memory.
SENIOR U.N. OFFICIALS SPOTLIGHT IMPACT OF GAZA CONFLICT
Robert Serry, the UN
for the Middle East Peace Process, also briefed the General Assembly today, speaking from Cairo, and he discussed efforts to obtain a prolonged ceasefire. He said that Gaza’s legal crossings must be opened, in a way that is compatible with Israel’s security concerns. He also discussed the importance of bringing the Palestinian Authority back to Gaza.
Pierre Krähenbühl, the Commissioner General of the UN Relief and Works Agency (
), spoke to the Member States from Gaza, and he said that 90 of the Agency’s premises were hit during the conflict. He said that UNRWA has asked for investigations to be carried out regarding the attacks on Agency-run schools that had been sheltering displaced Gazans.
Kyung-hwa Kang, the Assistant Secretary-General for
, discussed the toll of the conflict, saying that more than 1,800 Palestinians have been killed. Of those identified, at least 1,300 were civilians, including more than 400 children and 200 women. Meanwhile, 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians have been killed. Ms. Kang added that more than half a million people, or over one quarter of the population of Gaza, were displaced by the conflict.
Navi Pillay, the High Commissioner for
, talked about the need for accountability. She said that the conclusions and recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry established last month by the Human Rights Council will be presented in March 2015 and should be carefully considered and followed with appropriate action.
Also today, United Nations Development Programme (
) Administrator Helen Clark
that her organization’s immediate priorities include removing rubble, restoring solid waste systems, rebuilding homes and creating jobs and livelihoods.