UN chief ‘distressed’ by Israel’s plan for Gaza siege

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said he is “deeply distressed” by Israel’s announcement of a complete siege on the Gaza Strip.

“The humanitarian situation in Gaza was extremely dire before these hostilities. Now, it will only deteriorate exponentially,” Mr Guterres said at a news conference on Monday.

He spoke after the Israeli defence minister said he had ordered a cutoff of electricity and deliveries of food, fuel and other supplies to the territory.

Mr Guterres called for UN access to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza’s 2.3 million residents. He pressed the international community to provide immediate support for the humanitarian effort.

Mr Erdogan and Mr Abbas discussed the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas.

“President Erdogan stated that Turkey is making every effort to end the conflicts in the region and ensure calm as soon as possible” a statement from his press office said.

In his call with Mr Herzog “President Erdogan emphasised that any step that could harm the people of Gaza collectively and indiscriminately will further increase the suffering and spiral of violence in the region”, the presidential office statement said.

Mr Erdogan also told his Israeli counterpart that its “necessary to act with common sense and that establishing tranquility in the region as soon as possible is of great importance for the well-being of the entire region”.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says he and French President Emmanuel Macron will discuss the situation in Israel with US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak later on Monday.

Mr Scholz, who was hosting Mr Macron at a joint German-French Cabinet retreat in Hamburg, called Hamas’ attack on Israel “barbaric”.

But he added that Germany, France, the US and the UK agree that there must not be a “conflagration” in the region, and “no one should further fuel terror in this situation”.

Mr Macron pledged his “full support and solidarity for Israel”.

He spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the second time in three days and spoke over the weekend to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the leaders of Lebanon, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

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