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UN: We are working on improving situation in Gaza

The United Nations (UN) is currently working "closely" with the Palestinian Authority (PA), Israel, Egypt and its regional and international partners "to prevent a conflict in the occupied Gaza Strip and improve the situation," the agency's Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, said Monday.

"The United Nations Development Program (UNDP)'s Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (PAPP) is currently implementing several job creation programmes to mitigate the impact of the harsh economic and social conditions in Gaza," he told reporters.

Read: Palestine and Palestinians should not be defined by Mahmoud Abbas

The programme, he explained, will initially create more than 2,500 short-term jobs within 12 months in the occupied enclave.

Mladenov stressed that the PAPP's projects "will involve lots of young Palestinians through entrepreneurship, start-ups, telecommuting, business support, vocational training as well as skills development."

"In the light of the serious escalation over the past few days in Gaza, the UNDP's initiative is more urgent than ever," the UN official pointed out.

"I appeal to everybody to step back from the brink of a war," he said.

He also appealed to Israel to display "restraint in its responses to the situation" in Gaza. "I appeal to [Israeli] snipers not to fire at children."

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