The Secretary-General has sent a letter to Governments of countries around the Mediterranean Sea, expressing his belief that assistance and goods destined to Gaza should be channelled through legitimate crossings and established channels.

The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (27 May 2011):

The Secretary-General has sent a letter to Governments of countries around the Mediterranean Sea.  In these letters, the Secretary-General indicated that he was following with concern media reports of potential flotillas to Gaza. He expressed his belief that assistance and goods destined to Gaza should be channelled through legitimate crossings and established channels.  He recalled the statements of the Quartet on 21 June 2010 and the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee on 13 April 2011 in this regard.

The Secretary-General called on all Governments concerned to use their influence to discourage such flotillas, which carry the potential to escalate into violent conflict. He further called on all, including the Government of Israel, to act responsibly and with caution to avoid any violent incident.

The Secretary-General reiterated that, while he believed that flotillas were not helpful in resolving the basic economic problems in Gaza, the situation there remains unsustainable. He urged the Government of Israel to take further meaningful and far-reaching steps to end the closure of Gaza, within the framework of Security Council resolution 1860 (2009). In particular, he underlined that it was essential for the operation of legitimate crossings to be adequate to meet the needs of Gaza’s civilian population.