HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STÉPHANE DUJARRIC​,

SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES

FRIDAY, 28 AUGUST 2020

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MIDDLE EAST

On the situation in Gaza, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Middle East peace process, Nickolay Mladenov, tweeted today that the situation in and around Gaza is rapidly deteriorating.

He said that militants continue to launch projectiles and incendiary devices. The tightening of closures is making life inside the Strip unbearable, with electricity down to 3 hours a day and hospitals barely functioning.

Mr. Mladenov noted that, while the situation in Gaza gets worse, there is a rapid increase of COVID-19 cases. With a failing health system, no electricity, unemployment soaring, continuing militant activity and closures, he said that he is very concerned that escalation is imminent.

Mr. Mladenov stressed that the Palestinian militants must immediately stop the launching of projectiles and incendiary devices.

He also said that Israel must restore fuel deliveries for electricity. Under the current circumstances, no mediation efforts to prevent escalation and improve the situation can succeed in these circumstances.

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**Questions and Answers

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Your second question?

Question:  My second… yes.  Hamas issued a strong statement today against the report submitted by Mr.  Mladenov to the Security Council on [inaudible].  And again, in his statement, which we just read, he again blamed the victims.  He started with militants and he appealed to the militants.  But once why he did not mention straightforward that is to blame the occupation and the siege imposed on Gaza?

Spokesman:  I think…

I think he’s been… he has been very clear in, he’s… sorry.  Edie’s drinking a huge cup, and I’m, it’s a little distracting.  She’s front and centre.  Sorry.

Listen, I think he’s been very clear on the need to lift the, all the measures and get the oil in.  And his concern is, first and foremost, with the victims, with the civilians.  Right?  That has been his message throughout.  So, I’ll, that’s where I stand.

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For information media. Not an official record.