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Annan's Personal Humanitarian Envoy continues Middle East visit

Annan's Personal Humanitarian Envoy continues Middle East visit

Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Personal Humanitarian Envoy, Catherine Bertini, today continued her visit to the Middle East, where she was briefed by a number of the UN agencies on their work in the region, a UN spokesman said in New York.

As part of her programme, Ms. Bertini heard from the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, spokesman Fred Eckhard said.

Later in the day, Israeli officials accompanied Ms. Bertini to two of the authorized crossing points between Israel and Gaza, Erez and Karni, where she was able to observe first-hand the procedures for the transfer of people and commercial goods on the Israeli side of the crossings.

This evening, Ms. Bertini is scheduled to return to Jerusalem to meet with international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in the West Bank and Gaza, Mr. Eckhard said. Afterwards, representatives of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Committee for the Red Cross are also expected to brief her on their work.

Tomorrow, Ms. Bertini and her team will travel to the West Bank to meet with senior Palestinian officials, including Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat. They will also have the opportunity to visit humanitarian projects run by international and local NGOs, according to the spokesman.