Incontro stampa del Segretario Generale ad Al Arish, Egitto

Ecco l’incontro stampa del Segretario Generale ad Al Arish, Egitto.

[Il Segretario generale risponde solo alle domande; non fa alcun commento iniziale. Trascrizione non ufficiale].


[The Secretary-General took questions only; he made no opening remarks.  Unofficial transcript.]


Question: On draft resolutions regarding Gaza that were not implemented and on a future plan for the children of Gaza?

SG: First of all, it is clear that we have two kinds of obstacles for humanitarian delivery in Gaza.

One is the war itself.  It’s the fact that we have attacks, bombardments, killings and obviously as the deconflicting mechanisms are not working properly, it is very dangerous to distribute humanitarian aid in Gaza.

On top of that, law and order have completely been broken, which means that we have witnessed several situations in which the distribution degenerates into a situation of violence, and also, situations in which people were bombed when distribution was taking place.

So, there is a fundamental question. There is no way to have an effective aid distribution in Gaza without a humanitarian ceasefire.

On top of that, we have a number of obstacles in relation to – as we have seen – the rejection of items – obstacles in relation to the inspections; obstacles in relation to authorizations of convoys; obstacles in relation to the situation of the roads, and the different other questions that are posed by constant fighting.

There are a number of obstacles that the Israeli authorities have maintained, that make it very difficult to reach the level of delivery that is necessary.

The problem is not how many trucks enter. The problem is how can we distribute even for the trucks that enter in the chaotic situation that was created in Gaza.


Question: What about the future of the children?

SG: I think that we will – of course with UNICEF and with other agencies – do our best. We will have to work, as soon as the war ends, with authorities, in order to make sure that we mobilize the international community for massive support to the children.

First of all, there will be many situations of family reunification that will have to [take] place, but many have lost all their families.

We need to have institutions able to provide them with adequate treatment.  Trauma is terrible, so we will also need institutions to deal with that.

So, it’s huge work that we are totally committed to be part of together with other institutions, mainly with the Red Crescent and Red Cross family, and we will be appealing for international solidarity to allow it to happen as soon as the war ends.


Question: What would the humanitarian situation be like if Israel invades Rafah?

SG: I think there is today clear consensus, consensus expressed by the United States, consensus expressed by the European Union, consensus expressed by the UN, by the international community as a whole, that a ground intervention in Rafah, with the characteristics that we all know, would be a humanitarian catastrophe, and so I believe it is time to make sure that what we have been saying since the beginning – a humanitarian ceasefire takes place.

At the same time, it’s time for hostages to be released.  At the same time, it’s time to create hope for the Palestinian people, that there will be a Palestinian State.


Question: What is a possible way forward to prevent incursion to Rafah from happening?

SG: I think that we must do everything possible to put pressure for that not to happen. I think the US has a particular capacity.

Obviously, everyone will assume its responsibilities or his or her responsibility in relation to history. For me, it’s clear: we need to avoid a catastrophic situation in Rafah.


Question: Israel says it will remove civilians safely from Rafah. Is it possible to do that given the massive number of people?

SG: Well, first of all, we are against any form of forced displacement, and second, there is no safe place in Gaza today.

So, we can see that it is extremely doubtful, any programme, any succsseful programme, to provide security and safety for the population of Rafah when that security and safety do not exist in the whole of the Gaza territory.

Question: Even if there is a ceasefire, is there guarantee that the Israeli authorities will remove aid from getting into Gaza? What can the UN do, what can you do to guarantee that they will follow. And are you frustrated?

SG: First of all, don’t ask me how I can guarantee that the Israeli government would do whatever, because it is clear that the Israeli government does not normally do what I ask it to do.

What I can say is that it’s our interest to mobilize the international community in order to guarantee that if there is a ceasefire, there will be unhindered access to the whole territory and the possibility to have massive distribution to avoid the risk of famine that is today a nightmare for all of us.

The second question was?


Question: Are you frustrated?

SG: I mean, I just met with humanitarian workers that are working in Gaza before the intervention I had. And I remember one of them – he has 25 years of humanitarian work everywhere in the world. He said he has never seen anything so horrendous as the situation that is now occurring in Gaza.

You cannot see so many people being killed and some many children losing their families.

You cannot see such a huge amount of suffering without feeling enormously frustrated because unfortunately we have not the power to stop it. And I appeal to those who have the power to stop it, to do it effectively.


Question: Do you think today’s visit can change Netanyahu’s position from going to Rafah?

SG: Why don’t you ask Prime Minister Netanyahu about this.


Question: About the allegations against UNRWA.

SG: Let’s be very clear, UNRWA is the backbone of the assistance in Gaza.

3,000 UNRWA members of staff are the centre of the distribution of aid in Gaza.

169 have been killed, and they are going with enormous courage, resilience and determination, supporting the people in Gaza.

This needs to be respected. Of course, there was a serious indication that members of UNRWA were alleged to participate in terror attacks, and this of course is something that we totally condemn.   And immediately, in relation to those in which there was a serious possibility, they were separated, they were terminated in their contracts, and we launched a serious investigation.

And at the same time, as you know, I asked Catherine Colonna, and the group of Nordic Institutes to look into how UNRWA can be strengthened in order to be able to avoid any Hamas infiltration for any purpose and to guarantee its neutrality in the conflict.

We are working hard to make it happen, and I appeal to the whole of the international community to go on supporting UNRWA, because as I said, UNRWA is the backbone of the humanitarian aid inside Gaza.


Question: In reference to the terror incident in Moscow, in your opinion, is ISIS dangerous for the Middle East and the world?

SG: ISIS is a terrorist organization that is operating in several parts of the world, and it is a very serious threat to us all. We firmly condemn, we consider absolutely intolerable, the attack that took place in Moscow.

And we encourage all countries to work with each other in order to make sure that ISIS will not have the capacity to strike again anywhere else in the world.

ISIS is a terrorist organization that needs to be fought with determination, with a lot of international cooperation.


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