UN Middle East envoy says current violence is tragic and futile, urges settlement

UN Middle East envoy says current violence is tragic and futile, urges settlement

Refugees in Gaza
The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process today condemned recent violence in the area and stressed that an end to the crisis would require both political progress and efforts to improve conditions facing the Palestinians.

In a statement released in Gaza and New York, Terje Roed-Larsen expressed distress at the loss of civilian life suffered during yesterday's violence. He said he was particularly shocked at the death of a four-month old girl, which he said showed the "futility and tragedy" of the violence.

Mr. Larsen, who is in New York, said he regretted not to be able to receive a delegation of families of the victims which had come to visit his Gaza office, but added that he would brief the Secretary-General and other key UN officials on the acute situation facing the Palestinians.

Referring to yesterday's escalation by Israel, the envoy said the latest events proved the urgent need to end the violence. At the same time, he emphasized that the underlying cause of the crisis was the lack of political progress towards a just, permanent and lasting peace based on Security Council resolutions.

Mr. Roed-Larsen stressed that an end to the crisis would require "political progress, in parallel with urgent steps to improve the critical economic and social situation of the Palestinians."