| GEO World|
| UN chief 'encouraged' by Israel's move on Gaza blockade|
| Updated at: 0036 PST, Friday, June 18, 2010|
UNITED NATIONS: UN chief Ban Ki-moon is "encouraged" by Israel's decision to ease its blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip but wants a fundamental change in the Jewish state's posture, his spokesman said Thursday.
The UN secretary general "is encouraged that the Israeli government is reviewing its policy towards Gaza, and he hopes that today's decision by the Israeli security cabinet is a real step towards meeting needs in Gaza," spokesman Martin Nesirky told a UN press briefing.
However, he added that the world body "continues to seek a fundamental change in policy... so that humanitarian assistance, commercial goods and people are able to flow through functioning open crossings, and so that reconstruction can take place."
Nesirky said Ban tasked UN Middle East coordinator Robert Serry with immediately contacting Israeli authorities "to learn more about the decision and the additional measures and steps of implementation still required."
He stressed that the UN stood ready to scale up its efforts to help Gaza recover and rebuild if enabled to do so.
Ban has repeatedly called for a complete lifting of the Israeli siege of Gaza, including during a March visit to the Palestinian enclave when he said the blockade was causing "unacceptable suffering."