Statement on behalf the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Robert Serry and UNRWA Commissioner-General, Karen AbuZayd on UN operations in Gaza

09 January 2009

9 January 2009

In a high level meeting today at Israeli Ministry of Defense Headquarters in Tel Aviv, the UN was informed that the incidents which led to a temporary suspension of UN staff movements are deeply regretted and do not reflect official government policy.

The UN received credible assurances that the security of UN personnel, installations and humanitarian operations would be fully respected, including undertakings of improved liaison and more effective internal coordination within the IDF.

On this basis, UN staff movements suspended yesterday will resume as soon as possible. The UN will keep the safety and security of its staff under constant review.

The UN urges the parties to respect United Nation Security Council Resolution 1860, in particular its call for the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, and for an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire.

For further information contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972-(0)54-240-2659
Office: +972-(0)2-589-0267

Richard Miron
Chief Public Information Officer, UNSCO
Mobile: + 972 545627825
Office: +972 25687892

Background Information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at more than US$ 106  million.

For more information, please contact: