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Explanation of Vote by Ambassador Zhang Jun on the UN Security Council Resolution on the Palestinian-Israeli Situation

2024-02-20 13:25

Madam President,

China has voted in favor of the draft resolution, and we express our strong disappointment by and dissatisfaction with the veto of the United States. Algeria, on behalf of the Arab states, put forward the draft resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, immediate release of all hostages, guaranteed access for humanitarian supplies, and the rejection of forced displacement. This is both urgently required by the situation on the ground and it is also based on the minimum requirements of humanity. It deserves the support of all Council members. 

Algeria, demonstrating reason, sincerity, and an open attitude, held lengthy and extensive consultations with all parties on the draft resolution and took on board many constructive ideas, making the draft resolution more balanced. The outcome of today's vote clearly shows that on the issue of a ceasefire to halt the fight in Gaza, it is not that the Security Council does not have an overwhelming consensus, but rather it is the exercise of veto by the United States that stifles the Council consensus. The US veto sends a wrong message, pushing the situation in Gaza into a more dangerous one. 

While the Council ceasefire resolution has been vetoed, innocent civilians in Gaza are dying in the fighting and struggling on the brink of death. The US claimed that the Council resolution would interfere with the ongoing diplomatic efforts. Such a claim is totally untenable. Given the situation on the ground, the continued passive avoidance of an immediate ceasefire is nothing different from giving a green light to the continued slaughter. 

While the Council ceasefire resolution has been vetoed, the spillover of the conflict is destabilizing the entire Middle East region, leading to rising risks of a wider war. Only by extinguishing the flames of war in Gaza, can we prevent the fires of hell from engulfing the entire region. The Council must act quickly to stop this carnage in the Middle East. 

While the Council ceasefire resolution has been vetoed, the basics of international law are being trampled upon, and the bedrock of the multilateral system is being eroded. The Secretary-General of the United Nations has already written to the Council invoking Article 99 of the Charter and the International Court of Justice has issued provisional measures. The Council must respond forcefully to the serious violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the Gaza conflict and uphold the authority of international rule of order. 

Madam President, 

The Security Council must take actions to push for a ceasefire. This should not be a matter of debate, but rather a moral obligation that the Council cannot shy away from. It is a legal responsibility that the Council must assume. Even more so, this is a political requirement that the Council must fulfill in accordance with the Charter. The veto cannot muffle the strong call for a ceasefire and an end to the war. The Security Council cannot stop its work to uphold justice and fulfill its responsibilities just because of the veto. 

China urges Israel to heed the call of the international community, abandon its plan for Rafah offensive, and stop its collective punishment of the people of Palestine. We expect country with significant influence to do less of its political calculations, to be truly impartial and responsible, and to make the right choice to push for a ceasefire in Gaza. We call on the international community to pool all diplomatic efforts to give the people of Gaza a chance to live, give the people of the entire Middle East region a chance to have peace, and give it a chance for justice to be upheld. 

I thank you, Madam President.

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