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UNSCO mediates, coordinates UN work in the Middle East

 

For Gaza, where the United Nations Special Coordinator’s Office (UNSCO) for the Middle East works to improve the prospects for real peace, the highlight of 2005 was Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories of Gaza Strip and parts of the northern West Bank. The withdrawal raised hopes of a resumption of the peace process under the Road Map, the peace plan presented to the parties in 2003 by the Quartet, a diplomatic grouping comprising the UN, the European Union, Russia and the United States.

 

This hope, however, has yet to be met. Following the withdrawal, there was a brief period of quiet before yet another cycle of violence was set in motion, causing deaths and injuries on both sides. Restrictions on the movement of people and goods continued to have a devastating impact on the Palestinian economy. Israeli authorities eased restrictions somewhat on the movement of Palestinians in the West Bank this year by removing several military checkpoints, but numerous constraints to social and economic development remained. As a consequence, a high proportion of Palestinians now rely on humanitarian assistance.

 

UN agencies continued to deliver humanitarian and development assistance under the leadership of UNSCO. Meanwhile, UNSCO continued its mediation efforts, bilaterally with the parties to the peace process, and also as part of the wider international community.

 


Prepared by the Peace and Security Section, United Nations Department of Public Information.

© United Nations 2006