On Situation in Middle East, Secretary-General Calls for Release of Hostages, Unimpeded Humanitarian Aid Access to Gaza

The following statement by UN Secretary-General António Guterres was issued today:

In this dramatic moment, as we are on the verge of the abyss in the Middle East, it is my duty as Secretary-General of the United Nations to make two strong humanitarian appeals.

To Hamas, the hostages must be immediately released without conditions.

To Israel, rapid and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid must be granted for humanitarian supplies and workers for the sake of the civilians in Gaza.

Gaza is running out of water, electricity and other essential supplies.  The United Nations has stocks available of food, water, non-food items, medical supplies and fuel, located in Egypt, Jordan, the West Bank and Israel.  These goods can be dispatched within hours.  To ensure delivery, our selfless staff on the ground, along with non-governmental organization partners, need to be able to bring these supplies into and throughout Gaza safely, and without impediment to deliver to those in need.

Each one of these two objectives are valid in themselves. They should not become bargaining chips and they must be implemented because it is the right thing to do.

For information media. Not an official record.