News in Brief 09 January 2017 (PM)

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António Guterres. UN Photo/Manuel Elias

Terror "will not bring a solution" to Israeli-Palestinian conflict

"Violence and terror" will not bring a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the UN Secretary-General said on Monday, following an attack which left four Israelis dead in Jerusalem.

António Guterres condemned the terror attack by a Palestinian assailant on Sunday, who drove a truck at high speed into a group of soldiers, according to news reports.

Fifteen people were also injured, and the assailant was shot dead at the scene.

Here's UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric.

"He conveys his condolences to the bereaved families and wishes a swift recovery to those who were injured. Violence and terror will not bring a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — quite the opposite. All those responsible for such acts must be brought to justice, condemned and disavowed."

The statement from Mr Guterres stressed that acts of terrorism should not be allowed to get in the way of a "renewed commitment to dialogue".

"Unrestricted" access to water in Damascus must be restored

Access to running water for 5.5 million people in and around the Syrian capital Damascus must be restored immediately, the UN said on Monday.

Fighting between government and opposition forces in the Wadi Barada area close to city, has been raging since December 22, damaging and disrupting the main water supply.

The UN said that technical teams for the Syrian water authority had not been able to access the damaged area to even assess the damage.

Stéphane Dujarric again.

"The UN calls on all parties to allow immediate, unrestricted and sustained access in order to restore the provision of water. Since 22 December, the fighting in Wadi Barada has resulted in the displacement of an estimated 10,000 men, women and children out of the area, including 7,500 people registered by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in Government-controlled areas."

The UN and its partners have provided the displaced with winterization kits, blankets, sleeping bags, mattresses, kitchen sets and other emergency assistance.

On Saturday, the first inter-agency humanitarian convoy of 2017 delivered much needed food, health, and nutritional supplies to 40,000 men, women and children in the Madamiyet El Sham area.

"Human rights cannot be sidelined" in Puerto Rico, UN expert warns

Human rights in the US territory of Puerto Rico "cannot be sidelined" as the Caribbean island wrestles with major austerity measures caused by an on-going debt crisis.

That's the warning from Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky the UN Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights, who has asked the United States for an invitation to carry out a fact-finding mission to Puerto Rico.

"The population cannot be held hostage to past irresponsible borrowing and lending" said the expert, adding that "the economy should serve the people, not vice versa."

Mr Bohoslavsky argues that the austerity measures put in place to service the island's debt were unaffordable, and particularly harmful to persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups.

He called for tax cuts for families with children as just one of the many measures required to combat "intolerable levels of poverty" in Puerto Rico.

He welcomed recommendations from a US congressional task force for fairer health insurance funding and more tax credits.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'56"

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