UN humanitarian chief discusses aid in Saudi


Saudi Arabia has been "very generous in giving aid at the bilateral level," Holmes told AFP at the end of a two-day visit to Riyadh.

But "it would be good to have a greater balance between bilateral aid and aid given through the international humanitarian system," he said before leaving for the United Arab Emirates as part of a four-nation Gulf tour.

Holmes said he did not ask for specific financial contributions but focused instead on ways of "creating a coordination structure" to increase Saudi humanitarian aid through multilateral channels.

Holmes, who is UN undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, will visit Kuwait and Qatar after the UAE. On Tuesday he will give the keynote speech to the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference.

After visiting the Gaza Strip in February, Holmes said he had been "shocked by the grim and miserable things" he had seen, and "which are the result of current restrictions and the limitations on the number of goods that are being allowed" into the Israeli-blockaded territory.

Holmes told AFP on Sunday that there had since been "a marginal improvement" in allowing more food into Gaza, but "there is still a long way to go" and the situation there "remains very grave."


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