UN to hold emergency meeting on Gaza fuel crisis

world | Jan 22, 2008 | By RIAN 

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss the crisis triggered by Israel's fuel blockade to the Gaza Strip in response to rocket attacks from the Hamas-run territory.

The UN Security Council is to meet at 15:00 p.m. GMT at the request of Saudi Arabia following an emergency session of the Arab League in Cairo, Egypt, on Monday.

Saudi Arabia condemned the Israeli blockade of fuel and goods to Gaza which began on Friday, when Israel halted fuel supplies and shut all border crossings with the Palestinian enclave.

"The Council of Ministers has been following with deep concern Israeli violations and its policy of imposing the worst forms of collective punishment in Gaza and West Bank," Iyad Madani, the Saudi culture and information minister, was cited by the Saudi Press Agency as saying.

Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Salih called for an emergency summit of Arab countries in Cairo February 2-3 to discuss the "current tragic situation" in the Palestinian territories, the Yemen News Agency (SABA) said.

The UN condemned the move by Israel as Palestinians were left without electricity and running water threatening a humanitarian crisis as the enclave was plunged into darkness and factories and filling stations closed.

Late on Monday, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak agreed to ease the blockade to the Gaza Strip allowing fuel and medicine to be bought into the Palestinian enclave.

The Jerusalem Post said that Gaza would receive 2.2 million liters of diesel fuel for its power station in addition to the 140 megawatts of electric power it regularly receives from Egypt and Israel.

Hospitals and medical institutes will also receive 500,000 liters of fuel for their generators, and trucks will deliver medicine and food to the impoverished enclave.

A Gaza Health Ministry official said the blackout caused the death of five patients in hospitals during the early hours of Monday.


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Source: RIA Novosti