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UN Secy-Gen in Muscat as focus turns to Rafah

14 May 2024 Oman calls for Palestinian state recognition in UN address

Muscat – António Guterres, Secretary-General of United Nations, arrived in Muscat on Tuesday for a three-day official visit to the Sultanate of Oman.

Upon arrival at Muscat International Airport, Guterres was received by H E Sheikh Khalifa al Harthy, Undersecretary for Political Affairs in Foreign Ministry; H E Dr Mohammed bin Awad al Hassan, Permanent Representative of Oman to United Nations; and several Foreign Ministry officials.

Later in the day, Guterres visited the Youth Centre in Muscat, where he was briefed on the centre’s work, its mechanism of functioning and the activities it undertakes.

US$2bn for Gaza

The UN Secretary-General arrived from Kuwait where he attended a conference of international donors, which pledged over US$2bn in aid to Gaza.

The conference, organised by International Islamic Charitable Organization (IICO) and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), announced that the funds would be dispersed over two years, with the possibility of an extension.

The initiative is designed “to mobilise efforts to support life-saving humanitarian interventions in the Gaza Strip, and to support the prospects for early recovery for the population,” said Bader Saud al Sumait, General Manager of IICO.

It would be applied on five different tracks — “life-saving interventions, shelter, health, education and economic empowerment” – Sumait said as he read the conference’s final statement.

Guterres urged an immediate halt to the war, the return of hostages held in Gaza and a “surge” in humanitarian aid to the besieged Palestinian territory.

450,000 displaced from Rafah

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees said on Tuesday that 450,000 people have been forcibly displaced from the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip since May 6.

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