One day after the International Conference on Palestine “Reconstructing Gaza”, which took place in Cairo (Egypt) on 12 October at the initiative of Egypt and Norway and with the participation of President Mahmoud Abbas, His Excellency Mr. Riyad Al-Malki, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Palestine, met with Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, in Paris at UNESCO Headquarters.
Mr. Al-Malki thanked UNESCO for its contribution to relief and recovery efforts in Gaza within its fields of competence, in particular education. Referring specifically to the Cairo Conference and the longer-term challenges ahead for the reconstruction of Gaza, Mr. Al-Malki stressed the unprecedented scale of needs resulting both from physical destruction and damage, as well as from the psycho-social distress of affected civilian populations. He praised the UN-wide response at the Cairo Conference. He noted that the reconstruction of Gaza should fully integrate a process of healing the suffering and hardships endured by the people in Gaza, bringing back hope and confidence in the future.
In this connection, Minister Al-Malki emphasized the value of the partnership between UNESCO and his Government and expressed satisfaction with UNESCO’s participation in the Cairo Conference and active engagement in the United Nations Support Plan to the “National Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan” presented, in Cairo, by the Government of Palestine.
The Director-General thanked Minister Al-Malki for his visit and stressed that UNESCO would spare no efforts in contributing to the recovery and reconstruction in Gaza in its fields of competence.