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Thursday, 15 January 2009

UN official accuses his organization of complicity in Gaza tragedy

New York - The outspoken UN General Assembly president on Thursday accused the world body of 'direct complicity' in the tragedy unfolding in Gaza Strip, which began 19 months ago with the Israeli blockade of the territory with 1.5 million Palestinians.

Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, president of the 192-nation assembly, opened a one-day debate on the crisis in Gaza, lashing out at Israel and some UN Security Council members for the current fighting.

He said the UN has failed to protect the population in Gaza.

'But there is another violation - one in which we, as the United Nations, are directly complicit,' he said, citing the Israel closure of crossings into Gaza starting in 2007.

'The blockade has been endorsed, at least tacitly, by powerful parties grouped in the quartet, placing this organization in a dubious role and in violation of the obligations under the UN Charter and international law,' Miguel d'Escoto said.

The quartet, the group mediating the Middle East peace process, is composed of the UN, the European Union, the United States and Russia.

Since assuming the leadership of assembly, Miguel d'Escoto has infuriated Israel for his sharp criticism. He also rankled UN members when he demanded the democratisation of the organization.

The 118-nation Non-Aligned Movement, known as NAM, requested Miguel d'Escoto to re-convene the emergency assembly session dealing with the Middle East.

The session began when Palestinians launched the intifada against Israel years ago and can be reconvened to discuss a new crisis. The NAM would be expected to introduce a draft resolution dealing with the Gaza fighting in the assembly debate.

Miguel d'Escoto is particularly sympathetic with the NAM because he was a former foreign minister of the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua. He is also a former Maryknoll priest and has preferred the title of a father in UN documents. Source