Press Releases

    8 August 2002


    NEW YORK, 7 August (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the statement issued by Secretary-General Kofi Annan today on his appointment of Catherine Bertini as his Personal Humanitarian Envoy:

    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. Three weeks ago the Quartet (United Nations, United States, European Union, Russian Federation), meeting in New York, expressed their deep concern about this crisis, and agreed that the United Nations should lead a concerted international effort to alleviate the plight of the Palestinian people.

    I have therefore appointed Ms. Catherine Bertini, former head of the World Food Programme, as my Personal Humanitarian Envoy. She will be travelling to the region this weekend to assess the nature and the scale of the humanitarian crisis, and to review humanitarian needs in the light of recent developments. She will consult with United Nations 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 already under way, or planned, and identify any new measures that are needed. She will also meet the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to discuss with them what needs to be done. She 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.

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