UN envoy Robert Serry met the ministers of the new Palestinian unity government in the Gaza Strip yesterday and pledged increased UN support and called for the Israeli blockade to be lifted.
After the meeting in Gaza, Serry said in a statement: "I congratulated the ministers on their appointment and discussed with them the many practical challenges ahead," adding that he assured the officials of the full support of the UN, which is ready to increase its considerable programme of works in Gaza, including in the priority areas of water and energy.
He also called for lifting the Israeli-Egyptian blockade that has been enforced on the Gaza Strip since 2006, when Hamas won parliamentary elections in a freely and transparent elections.
Labour Minister Ma'moun Abu Shahla hailed the visit and called on the international community to take more measures to support the unity government and secure reasonable facilities for it in order to guarantee its sustainability.
Housing Minister Mofeed Al-Hassaina said the meeting was important "because it reflects the international recognition of this unity government."
Serry's meeting with the members of the unity government is the first by an international official.
During a meeting with the Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamadallah in Ramallah last week Serry said that the UN would fully support the unity government. He hoped it would fulfil the needs of the Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and occupied Jerusalem.
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad