Middle East UN envoy continues contact with Israeli Palestinian officials

Mr. Roed-Larsen met on Tuesday with senior members of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and the country’s Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, according to a UN spokesman. The envoy also spoke by phone with several Palestinian officials. In addition, Mr. Roed-Larsen represented the UN at a meeting of the “Quartet,” which brings together the UN, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United States. Washington’s envoy Gen. Anthony Zinni also attended. “This was the latest in a series of intense and continuing discussion among the members of the Quartet,” spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters in New York. In subsequent remarks to the press, Mr. Roed-Larsen said during those talks he had addressed the growing tension along the Blue Line between Lebanon and Israel. The envoy also emphasized that the Security Council had confirmed Israel’s withdrawal from all occupied lands in southern Lebanon, and that all parties must fully respect the Blue Line.Mr. Roed-Larsen said the Palestinian-Israeli military crisis grew out of feelings by both parties that their very existence was under threat. On the humanitarian side, he appealed to the Israeli Government to ensure that relief agencies had full of access to populations in need. He also called on the donor community to ensure that humanitarian agencies, particularly the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), had adequate funding. Meanwhile, in New York, the Security Council scheduled separate private meetings with Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Yehuda Lancry, and the Permanent Observer for Palestine, Nasser Al-Kidwa. In addition, Council members held their monthly working lunch with the Secretary-General, who briefed members on his recent trip to the Arab League Summit in Beirut. They also discussed the general situation in the Middle East, according to a UN spokesman.Late on Monday afternoon, the Council met in consultations to discuss a request from the Arab Group to hold an urgent public meeting on the Middle East.

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