HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY
STEPHANE DUJARRIC, SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

MONDAY, 23 JUNE 2014

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 U.N. POLITICAL CHIEF DETAILS UNSETTLING DEVELOPMENTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST 

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  • Jeffrey Feltman, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, detailed the unsettling developments in the Middle East in a briefing to the Security Council this morning.
  • He said that, with Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations suspended since the end of April and despite restraint initially displayed by both sides, the situation on the ground has turned highly volatile with several disturbing developments. He noted that three Israeli students have been missing since 12 June.

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U.N.R.W.A. WELCOMES AGREEMENT TO IMPROVE ACCESS TO PEOPLE IN SYRIA’S YARMOUK CAMP

  • The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has received credible information about an agreement signed between Syrian authorities and armed opposition groups inside Yarmouk.
  • The Agency would welcome any durable and binding agreement that achieves a cessation of hostilities, full humanitarian access and an end to the suffering of civilian in Yarmouk and all of Syria.
  • In particular, the Relief and Works Agency is urgently seeking the immediate resumption and expansion of its humanitarian activities inside Yarmouk to enable it to offer a full range of humanitarian supplies, services and programmes to the civilians of Yarmouk. UNRWA stands ready to implement a rapid humanitarian response so that the immediate and longer term needs of Yarmouk’s civilian population can be met.
  • The Agency will continue to advocate for continuous, substantial and safe humanitarian access to Yarmouk, and to ensure the protection of Palestinian and Syrian civilians.

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SECRETARY-GENERAL REITERATES SUPPORT FOR U.N. MIDDLE EAST ENVOY

· The Spokesman responded to questions he has received about the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry.  He said the Secretary-General is aware of the recent comments.

· He fully supports Mr. Serry, who carries out his responsibilities in the pursuit of UN peace efforts with impartiality and full transparency, and as mandated by UN intergovernmental bodies. The UN's position and assistance efforts regarding the situation in Gaza have always been closely discussed with relevant Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

· The Secretary-General spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on 21 June and discussed the current situation on the ground. The Secretary-General reaffirms the important role of the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator in supporting efforts to achieve long lasting peace in the Middle East.

· Asked about the issue of abductions, the Spokesman noted that the Secretary-General has condemned the abductions of the youths. He added, in response to further questions, that the Secretary-General has also spoken out clearly about the protection of Palestinian civilians.

· Asked about allegations that Mr. Serry had tried to provide funds to Hamas, the Spokesman said that Mr. Serry clearly denied those allegations over the weekend. He reiterated the Secretary-General’s full confidence in Mr. Serry and the integrity and transparency of his work.

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