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New UN Mideast peace coordinator arrives in Gaza

April 29, 2015 10:42 A.M. (Updated: April 29, 2015 5:12 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The new United Nations official charged with working toward peace in the Middle East on Wednesday arrived in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov arrived in Gaza at the head of a 10-member delegation via the Erez crossing from southern Israel.

The trip to Gaza is a first for Mladenov since his appointment to the position in early February by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

On April 15, Mladenov said in a statement that "The UN remains committed to supporting the reconstruction of Gaza."

"With the advent of a number of large scale housing and infrastructure projects, it would be important for Israel and all stakeholders to work together and accelerate the entry of construction materials," he said at the time.

That statement was released following the envoy's first meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.

In his position, Mladenov also serves as the personal representative of the UN leader to the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Palestinian Authority, and the international quarter on the Middle East, including the UN, EU, US, and Russia.

He has come under fire by some Palestinian critics, who accuse him of taking strongly pro-Israel stances during his time as Bulgarian foreign minister in 2010 to 2013.

Mladenov replaced Robert Serry, who was UN Mideast peace coordinator since 2007.

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