New UN envoy to assess Palestinian humanitarian crisis – Annan
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today named the former head of the World Food Programme (WFP), Catherine Bertini, as his Personal Humanitarian Envoy and said she would travel immediately to the Middle East to assess the nature and the scale of the humanitarian crisis there.
Ms. Bertini “will report to me, and through me to the Quartet, on what needs to be done to respond to the humanitarian situation and to prevent it from deteriorating further,” the Secretary-General said, referring to the diplomatic grouping – comprised of the UN, United States, European Union and Russian Federation – which is working to help the Israelis and Palestinians to reach a political settlement.
In a statement released at UN Headquarters in New York, the Secretary-General said, "all parties in the Middle East agree that the civilian population of the West Bank and Gaza is facing a severe and mounting humanitarian crisis."
He also recalled that at a meeting three weeks ago in New York, the Quartet expressed their deep concern about the crisis, and agreed that the UN should lead a concerted international effort to alleviate the plight of the Palestinian people.
The Secretary-General said today that Ms. Bertini would consult with UN officials in the area, as well as those of the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement and the donor and non-governmental community, to review assistance activities and to identify any other required measures. She is also expected to meet with the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to discuss what needs to be done to prevent a further deterioration of the humanitarian situation.