UN chief `encouraged` by Israel`s move on Gaza blockade

UN chief Ban Ki-moon is "encouraged" by Israel`s decision to ease its blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip but wants a fundamental change in the Jewish state`s posture, his spokesman said on Thursday.

Updated: Jun 18, 2010, 09:50 AM IST

United Nations: UN chief Ban Ki-moon is
"encouraged" by Israel`s decision to ease its blockade of the
Hamas-run Gaza Strip but wants a fundamental change in the
Jewish state`s posture, his spokesman said on Thursday.

The UN secretary general "is encouraged that the Israeli
government is reviewing its policy towards Gaza, and he hopes
that today`s decision by the Israeli security cabinet is a
real step towards meeting needs in Gaza," spokesman Martin
Nesirky told a UN press briefing.

However, he added that the world body "continues to seek
a fundamental change in policy... so that humanitarian
assistance, commercial goods and people are able to flow
through functioning open crossings, and so that reconstruction
can take place."

Nesirky said Ban tasked UN Middle East coordinator Robert
Serry with immediately contacting Israeli authorities "to
learn more about the decision and the additional measures and
steps of implementation still required."

He stressed that the UN stood ready to scale up its
efforts to help Gaza recover and rebuild if enabled to do so.

Ban has repeatedly called for a complete lifting of the
Israeli siege of Gaza, including during a March visit to the
Palestinian enclave when he said the blockade was causing
"unacceptable suffering."

PTI