James Wolfensohn to continue as Quartet Gaza envoy – UN spokesperson
The diplomatic Quartet promoting the Middle East peace process – made up of the United Nations, United States, Russian Federation and European Union – has requested that its special envoy for Israeli disengagement from Gaza, James Wolfensohn, continue his duties through the end of March 2006, a spokesperson for the world body said today.
The Quartet considers Mr. Wolfensohn essential to help facilitate the recovery of the Palestinian economy as well as to resolve remaining issues associated with the disengagement, Marie Okabe told reporters in New York.
Mr. Wolfensohn, formerly President of the World Bank, was appointed in April to help oversee Israel's planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, and to aid in coordinating revitalization efforts once Palestinian authorities take over the area.
On that occasion, Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed his appointment as an important step towards realizing the vision of the Road Map peace plan devised by the Quartet that lays out mutual steps by the parties toward a secure Israel and a sovereign, democratic Palestine living side by side in peace.