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UN envoy calls for removal of obstacles blocking Gaza reconstruction

December 12, 2014 at 12:09 pm

The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry expressed deep concern about the difficult situation in the Gaza Strip in light of the continued closure of the crossings and the inhospitable environment for reconstruction.

In a written statement about his visit yesterday, Serry revealed that he plans to brief the UN Security Council next week on the need for all parties and the international community to fulfil the promises they made during the Cairo Conference for Gaza Reconstruction to give the enclave more than just hope, and provide material to enable its people to rebuild their lives and create a suitable environment that leads to ending the siege.

He said: “It’s time to make progress on all levels in order to avoid a renewal of conflict. By the end of this month more than 20,000 homeowners are expected to be able to procure construction material for urgent repairs of their dwellings.”

However, he stressed that this is just the beginning of an effective reconstruction process in Gaza and that there is much more to be done.

Serry pointed out that, during talks with the Palestinian unity government ministers in Gaza and members of the private sector, he stressed the importance of direct engagement to address the large-scale reconstruction challenges and to give priority to projects that serve this purpose through the temporary mechanism, noting that the implementation of the first projects to revive the private sector may begin as early as next week.

His work mechanism, he explains, aim s to open Gaza for reconstruction as agreed at the Cairo Conference, calling on the need for a permanent ceasefire and for the national unity government – led by President Mahmoud Abbas – to able to bear its legal responsibilities in the Gaza Strip, including taking control of the crossings.

“The ceasefire is still fragile, unofficial and hasn’t been so far reinforced. The unity government is still unable to have full control of the Gaza Strip crossing points,” Serry said.

Serry said he remained “gravely concerned about the dire situation” and planned to urge all stakeholders and the international community to “make good” on their calls to help Gaza when he visits the UN Security Council next week.

“This includes progress on all fronts, progress which must be made now lest we see Gaza fall back into yet another conflict,” he concluded.