General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser today called on countries to throw their support behind a United Nations housing programme for Palestinians, stressing that it will enhance not only their living conditions but also prospects for peace in the region.
The Special Human Settlements Programme, led by UN-Habitat, seeks to improve the human settlements conditions of the Palestinian people while simultaneously contributing to bring peace, security and stability to the region.
The programme has received financial support from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the European Union. In addition, some countries that were involved in the establishment of the programme’s advisory board include Israel, Jordan and the United States.
“It is significant that such a wide array of important international actors, including key players on the issue of Palestine, could come together to take this very positive step,” Mr. Al-Nasser said in his message prepared for the establishment and first meeting of the Advisory Board of programme.
“I hope that this may serve as a seed for similar initiatives in the future, with a view to improving the living conditions of all peoples in the Middle East, and in particular of the Palestinians,” he said.
In his remarks, delivered by his Chef de Cabinet Mutlaq M. Al-Qahtani, Mr. Al-Nasser encouraged all relevant Palestinian institutions to “work in cooperation with UN-Habitat, to continue to undertake their development plans in Occupied East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley.”
Mr. Al-Nasser also met yesterday with the Permanent Representative of Togo and this month’s Security Council President, Kodjo Menan, who briefed him on the Council’s planned activities this month which will include open debated on peace and security in Africa and the role of women in peace and security.
The two men discussed the situation in Somalia, Libya and Yemen, as well as on the developments in the Middle East and Syria in particular.
Meanwhile, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefed the Security Council on his recent trip to the Middle East, saying it is crucial that Israel and the Palestinians remain engaged, submit proposals on territory and security, and build confidence.
He urged the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to recognize the need to rebuild momentum and set the stage for progress in peace negotiations.