Queen Rania, Ban Ki-moon Discuss Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

January 14, 2009

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - Amman) Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Wednesday, during his visit to Amman to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. During the meeting, Her Majesty noted the UN’s efforts in calling for an immediate end to the violence, but said that more pressure needs to be put on Israel.

Despite numerous calls on behalf of the international community for an immediate ceasefire, the situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate while the ability of relief agencies to assist is impeded, she said.

“The scale of the humanitarian disaster requires more efforts on everybody’s part,” she said to Ki-moon.

The Secretary General is visiting the region to step up the pace of diplomatic efforts and ensure that urgent humanitarian assistance reaches people in Gaza. Her Majesty expressed hope that the Secretary General will continue and accelerate his efforts to activate diplomacy to end the Israeli offensive on Gaza and stop the killing of innocent civilians.

Queen Rania told the Secretary General that Jordan is ready to expand the efforts of the Jordanian Hashemite Charity Organization in coordinating aid passing through Jordan, but that Israel must open the crossings to allow the passage of aid and aid workers.

According to relief workers in Gaza, more patients need to be evacuated through the Rafah crossing in order to relieve pressure on Shifa Hospital; fears of disease outbreaks continue as the damage to the water and sanitation network has not been fixed; the number of people who are seeking refuge in UNRWA and other shelters continues to rise and has reached tens of thousands; and many basic food items remain unavailable for infants and malnourished children as well as the population at large.

Queen Rania, who earlier this week joined first ladies from the region in calling for an immediate ceasefire and for the international donor community to contribute to UNRWA’s emergency appeal, said she is committed to supporting the efforts of UNRWA and UNICEF in Gaza.