United Nations, Oct 16 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access to Gaza and for the release of hostages kept by Hamas.
“In this dramatic moment, as we are on the verge of the abyss in the Middle East, it is my duty as Secretary-General of the United Nations to make two strong humanitarian appeals,” he said on Sunday in a statement.
“To Hamas, the hostages must be immediately released without conditions; to Israel, rapid and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid must be granted for humanitarian supplies and workers for the sake of the civilians in Gaza,” he added.
“Each one of these two objectives are valid in themselves. They should not become bargaining chips,” the UN chief said.
The United Nations has stocks available of food, water, non-food items, medical supplies and fuel, located in Egypt, Jordan, the West Bank and Israel. These goods can be despatched within hours, Xinhua news agency reported.
To ensure delivery, UN staff and partners on the ground need to be able to bring these supplies into and throughout Gaza safely and without impediment to deliver to those in need, Guterres added.