Palestinian talks 'must not be allowed to fail,' says UN peace chief

New York - The UN’s Middle East peace chief on Monday lauded the reopening of the Gaza Strip’s Rafah crossing to Egypt but said intra-Palestinian talks due to start in Cairo on Tuesday "must not be allowed to fail."

Nickolay Mladenov,
Nickolay Mladenov,
"Two million Palestinians in Gaza have high hopes that the government’s return will improve their lives," Nickolay Mladenov, the UN special coordinator for Middle East peace, told the Security Council in New York.
"After living in abject misery under Hamas control and locked in by the closures, the situation is close to exploding."
A breakdown in talks will most likely spark another "devastating conflict," Mladenov said.
"Whether that conflict would be triggered by a meltdown of law and order in Gaza, by the reckless action of extremists or by strategic choice, the result will be the same - devastation and suffering for all."
The handover of Rafah on Saturday, which Mladenov called a "landmark step," was part of a reconciliation agreement between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' secular Fatah party, which dominates the West Bank, and Hamas, which violently seized Gaza in 2007.
Hamas, considered a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union, has been under financial and political pressure, both at home and abroad, to relinquish its control over Gaza and allow both Palestinian territories to come under a unified authority.
Egypt and Israel have kept Gaza under a blockade since the Hamas takeover.
The enclave has suffered massive economic collapse, worsened by heavy damage to infrastructure caused during three wars with Israel and a lack of supplies.

Monday, November 20th 2017

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