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

2023-10-18 12:00

Mr. President,

The evening before yesterday at this Chamber, I gave a comprehensive account of China's views on the current situation. And I will further elaborate on this at the following emergency briefing. So here I wish to focus my remarks on the result of today's vote on the draft resolution proposed by Brazil. We feel shocked and disappointed that the draft resolution failed to be adopted.

A draft resolution proposed by the Russian Federation was put to vote in the evening before yesterday. It focused on the humanitarian concerns of the conflict and called for an immediate ceasefire to protect civilians. It was supported and co-sponsored by many Arab countries. However, some countries chose to vote against it. They said that they wanted more time to seek consensus on the basis of the draft resolution tabled by Brazil. Our colleagues from Brazil and many other Council members showed a constructive attitude and agreed to postpone the voting for 24 hours, and later further postpone it till now. However, in the past 40 hours, those countries have neither commented on nor expressed opposition to the Brazilian draft, which led us to expect that today hopefully the Council would be able to adopt the resolution. The final result is unbelievable.

The ground situation in Gaza is quickly escalating. Yesterday’s airstrike on the Al-Ahli Hospital resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths. China strongly condemns the airstrike against the hospital. We urge Israel to earnestly fulfill its obligations under international humanitarian law. We call for an immediate ceasefire to protect civilians and avoid a greater humanitarian catastrophe. The Council must take swift and strong actions.

China also believes that the Brazilian draft resolution still has room for improvement. It should send a strong message demanding a ceasefire to protect civilians and prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. Therefore, we have proposed edits on the text and supported the amendments proposed by the Russian Federation. We are very disappointed that the amendments were not adopted.

That said, the Brazilian draft in general reflects the common appeal of the international community and could represent the initial steps by the Council to establish a ceasefire. And it might be the only text on which the Council could reach consensus under the current circumstances. Certain countries talked about the importance for the Council to take the right actions. However, the way they voted only makes us question their willingness to let the Council take any actions and their sincerity to find a solution to the problem. In the final analysis, the Council cannot stand still. The current situation in Gaza is escalating. More and more civilians are paying the price. The Council should heed the just call of the Arab countries and the Palestinian people, and fulfill its obligations and play its due role in promoting ceasefire, protecting civilians, and avoiding a greater humanitarian disaster.

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