UN envoy warns Gaza is imploding, economy in freefall

Palestinian protesters carry a youth injured by Israeli forces at the Israel-Gaza border, east of Gaza city, on October 12, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 18 October 2018
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UN envoy warns Gaza is imploding, economy in freefall

  • Nickolay Mladenov delivered the warning to the Security Council a day after Israeli warplanes struck the Gaza Strip
  • Every second person in Gaza now lives below the poverty line, he said

UN, New York: With its economy in a freefall and tensions rising with Israel, the Hamas-ruled enclave of Gaza is imploding, the UN envoy for the Middle East warned Thursday.
Nickolay Mladenov delivered the warning to the Security Council a day after Israeli warplanes struck the Gaza Strip in retaliation at rocket firings from the Palestinian territory.
“Gaza is imploding. This is not hyperbole. This is not alarmism. It is a reality,” Mladenov told the council.
He cited World Bank figures showing official unemployment at 53 percent, with more than 70 percent of Palestinian youths jobless.
Every second person in Gaza now lives below the poverty line, he said.
Hamas, which has ruled Gaza for a decade, on Thursday pledged to launch an investigation into the rocket fire after denying any involvement in the attack, but Israel rejected the denials.
“We remain on the brink of another potentially devastating conflict, a conflict that nobody claims to want, but a conflict that needs much more than just words to prevent,” said Mladenov.
The United Nations has made some headway in joint efforts with Egypt to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, but Mladenov warned this could collapse.
“Barring substantial steps to reverse the current course, this precarious sense of calm is doomed to give way under the mounting pressure. It is already beginning to fray,” he said.
Hamas and Israel have fought three wars in Gaza since 2008.


Egypt to host African summits Tuesday on Sudan, Libya

Updated 18 min 19 sec ago
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Egypt to host African summits Tuesday on Sudan, Libya

  • The leaders will focus on “the evolution of the situation in Sudan” where protests continue after the military toppled president Omar Al-Bashir
  • The planned summits are the first to be convened by African leaders on the current crises in Sudan and Libya

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi will lead two emergency summits with other African leaders on Tuesday to address events in Sudan and Libya, his presidency said.
The leaders will focus on “the evolution of the situation in Sudan” where protests continue after the military toppled president Omar Al-Bashir.
They will also seek to “stem the current crisis” in Libya, where commander Khalifa Haftar is leading an offensive on Tripoli, Egypt’s presidency said in a statement.
El-Sisi is also the current president of the African Union.
He will receive the Chadian president Idriss Deby, Rwanda’s head of state Paul Kagame, Congo’s Denis Sassou-Nguesso, Somalia’s Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa as well as Dijbouti’s leader Ismail Omar Guelleh.
The planned summits are the first to be convened by African leaders on the current crises in Sudan and Libya.
For Sudan, the objective “is to discuss ... the most appropriate ways to address the evolution of the situation and to contribute to stability and peace,” Egypt’s presidency said.
The AU on April 15 threatened to suspend Sudan if the military does not hand over power within 15 days of that date to a civilian authority.
President of the African Union commission Moussa Faki is also expected to participate in the discussions, along with officials from Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria.
Another summit on Libya, which will bring together the leaders of Rwanda, South Africa and the Congo with El-Sisi, will focus on “relaunching a political process... (and) the elimination of terrorism,” Egypt’s presidency said.
Strongman Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army launched an offensive against Tripoli, the seat of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord, on April 4.
Egypt is a strong ally of Haftar, who is also backed by the UAE and — according to the White House — was consulted by US President Donald Trump in a phone call last week.