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UN Gaza coordinator meets Israeli officials, tours Kibbutz Kfar Aza

Iran's foreign minister receives a visa to attend a UNSC meeting on Israel in New York.

Then-Dutch Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag (right) meets Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki in The Hague, May 15, 2019. Credit: Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Then-Dutch Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag (right) meets Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki in The Hague, May 15, 2019. Credit: Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The United Nations’ point person on Gaza aid and reconstruction met with a number of Israeli officials on Sunday.

Sigrid Kaag, the recently-appointed U.N. senior humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator, held discussions with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Foreign Minister Israel Katz, Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi, as well as the head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Maj. Gen. Ghassan Alian. 

A U.N. spokesman said Kaag also visited Kibbutz Kfar Aza, one of the communities in southern Israel hardest hit during Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre. Kaag reportedly met with family members of Israelis still being held in Gaza by the terror group.

Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, had no information to make public about the substance of Kaag’s meetings.

Kaag was in Ramallah on Monday, meeting with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.

The reconstruction aspect of Kaag’s mandate will largely be contingent on how Gaza is re-shaped politically and militarily once Hamas is removed from power.

Over the weekend, Guterres called Netanyahu’s refusal to accept the creation of a Palestinian state “totally unacceptable.”

Asked why, three months after Oct. 7 and with hostages still being held in Gaza, Guterres would expect any Israeli leader to embrace a two-state solution, Dujarric pointed to previous comments from Guterres that  “this is a human crisis of huge proportions, for human beings. And we need, out of this crisis, to find the opportunities to move forward to peace. And for [Guterres], the end needs to be a two-state solution.”

Meanwhile on Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was granted a State Department visa for Tuesday’s U.N. Security Council meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian file, where he will meet with Guterres. The get-together comes as Tehran is under fire for fomenting chaos throughout the region with its sponsorship of Hamas, Hezbollah and Yemen’s Ansar Allah.

Last week, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Raphael Grossi voiced serious concerns regarding Iran’s lack of cooperation with his agency regarding its nuclear program. 

Iran will take hold of the presidency of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament from Mar. 18 to Mar. 29 and again from May 13 to May 24.

The Conference on Disarmament is the U.N. body in charge of negotiating nuclear disarmament treaties and several other weapons agreements.

The ascension is not merit-based but alphabetical in nature, and a U.N. spokesman said there was nothing to comment on regarding automatic appointment of member states to lead various commissions and bodies.

Israel will take over the presidency of the conference from Aug. 19 to Sept. 13.

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