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. read more

Thousands flee clashes in northern Central African Republic UN says

Quoting local, reliable sources, OCHA said half of those who escaped from Bodjomo and neighbouring villages reportedly have sought refuge in Chad, which is already hosting some 45,000 CAR refugees, and the rest are internally displaced in the country’s northern forests.The 15-member UN Security Council met to discuss the situation in Central African Republic in closed session at the UN Headquarters in New York.Chad, which is hosting 200,000 refuges from Sudan’s Darfur region, experienced food shortages last year, OCHA said.“The potential for a renewed humanitarian crisis exists. Priority needs for the displaced are for food, shelter, and medical assistance. However, northern Central African Republic remains off-limits to the United Nations staff. Some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have pulled out of the area due to security concerns,” the Office said.Other NGOs have offered to have offered to help the UN agencies to distribute assistance, but a lack of resources could hinder these plans since only $9.6 million was donated out of the $28 million requested last year.OCHA added that after flooding devastated CAR’s capital, Bangui, last year, the humanitarian community has worked with the Government to establish a system for the distribution of safe drinking water and to enhance disease surveillance. read more