18 April 1996

Press Release


19960418 The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary- General Boutros Boutros-Ghali:

In their meeting yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General and Yossi Beilin, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel, discussed a wide range of issues, including the latest developments in the Middle East, activities of United Nations organizations in the area and Israel's involvement in the work of the United Nations.

The Secretary-General expressed deep concern about the deterioration in the Palestinian economy as a result of the Israeli closure. Mr. Beilin informed him that his Government had decided to open the borders between Gaza and Egypt, and the West Bank and Jordan, and to permit 10,000 Palestinians to work in Israel. He added that these matters would be further discussed at the meeting between Prime Minister Peres and Chairman Arafat, which would take place Thursday. The Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), who also attended the meeting, outlined the restrictions imposed on the freedom of movement of UNRWA Palestinian staff serving in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Mr. Beilin promised to look into the matter.

The Secretary-General underlined his grave concern about the continuing hostilities along the Israel-Lebanon border and inside Lebanon, and the negative impact that this would have on the Middle East peace process.

The Secretary-General and the Minister discussed ways and means of strengthening the relations between Israel and the United Nations.

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For information media. Not an official record.