News in Brief 19 December (AM)

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Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomes formation of new Lebanese government. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Formation of new Lebanese government welcomed by UN chief

The formation of a new government in Lebanon has been welcomed by the UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

The Secretary-General congratulated Prime Minister Saad Hariri on what he described as his "swift progress" and encouraged Lebanese political leaders to "build on the momentum of national unity."

Lebanon has been without a formal government for the past 29 months due to political divisions, and is hosting more than one million refugees, mostly from neighbouring Syria.

The UN chief said he hoped the new 30-person government would ensure that the country's upcoming parliamentary election was "successfully conducted within the timeframe set out by the constitution."

His statement on Sunday added that the UN was looking forward to working with the new government to continue addressing Lebanon's "political, security and humanitarian challenges."

47 orphans evacuated from east Aleppo says UNICEF

47 children trapped in an orphanage in east Aleppo have been successfully evacuated, according to the UN Children's Fund, UNICEF.

Some of the orphans are in a critical medical condition, suffering from injuries and dehydration said UNICEF.

The agency's Regional Director, Geert Cappaelaere, said it was "glimmer of hope amid a grim reality for the children of Syria", thousands of whom have been trapped in east Aleppo for months.

"UNICEF and partners are assisting in reunifying recently evacuated children with their families" he said, adding that they were being provided with medical care and winter clothes.

Many vulnerable children including those orphaned and separated from families, remain in the city in need of urgent protection.

Palestinian minister and UN launch US$47m funding appeal for 2017

The Palestinian government launched a US$47 million funding appeal for next year on Monday, together with the UN.

Palestinian Social Development minister, Ibrahim Al-Shaer, and the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid in the region, Robert Piper, said the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan would support the needs of 1.6 million in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Speaking in Bethlehem, Mr Al-Shaer said the occupation had "left many Palestinians vulnerable, whether inside or outside Palestine" and that ending occupation was vital to avoid future appeals for aid.

Mr Piper said that the appeal sought to "give a hand to the most vulnerable, the worst affected amongst Palestinian households, across the whole occupied territory."

Priyanka Shankar, United Nations.


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