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

2024-03-22 11:40

Mr. President, 

China voted against the draft resolution that has just been put to the vote. And I would like to explain China's voting position and relevant considerations as follows.

More than 160 days have passed since the outbreak of the Gaza conflict. In the face of a human tragedy in which more than 32,000 innocent civilians have lost their lives and millions are suffering from famine, the most urgent action to be taken by the Council is to promote an immediate, unconditional, and sustained ceasefire. This is the universal call of the international community, the decision taken by the emergency special session of the General Assembly a few months ago, and the solemn appeal by the Secretary-General of the UN to the Council while invoking Article 99 of the Charter. The Council has dragged its feet and wasted too much time in this regard. 

We all recall that the US introduced its own draft resolution after vetoing on February 20 the overwhelming consensus among Council members on an immediate ceasefire. Over the past month, the draft has undergone several iterations and contains elements that respond to the concerns of the international community. But it has always evaded and dodged the most essential issue, that is, a ceasefire. The final text remains ambiguous and does not call for an immediate ceasefire. Nor does it even provide an answer to the question of realizing a ceasefire in the short term. This is a clear deviation from the consensus of the Council members and falls far short of the expectations of the international community. An immediate ceasefire is a fundamental prerequisite for saving lives, expanding humanitarian access, and preventing greater conflicts. The US draft, on the contrary, sets up preconditions for a ceasefire, which is no different from giving a green light to continued killings, and thus unacceptable. 

The draft is also very unbalanced in many other aspects, in particular, with regard to Israel's recent and repeated declarations of plan for a military offensive on Rafah, the draft does not clearly and unequivocally state its opposition, which would send an utterly wrong signal and lead to severe consequences. 

Any action taken by the Security Council should stand the test of history and the scrutiny of morality and conscience. With a view to safeguarding fairness and justice, the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and the dignity of the Council, and also based on the concerns and strong opposition from the Arab states regarding this draft resolution, China together with Algeria and Russia have voted against the draft resolution. 

Mr. President, 

Members of the Council have now before them another draft resolution that was the result of collective consultations among elected members of the Council. This draft is clear on the issue of a ceasefire, in line with the correct direction of the Council's action, and of great relevance. China supports this draft. We hope that the members of the Council will reach agreement on this basis as soon as possible and send a clear signal calling for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the fighting. 

Like other members, China has from the outset called for the immediate release of all hostages, a repeated demand in Security Council Resolutions 2712 and 2720. We welcome the mediation efforts by Egypt, Qatar, and others to this end. And we hope that all detainees will be released at an early date. 

China rejects the accusations by the US and the UK against China's voting position. Those are groundless accusations. If the US was serious about a ceasefire, it wouldn't have vetoed time and again multiple Council resolutions, and wouldn't have taken such a detour and played a game of words while being ambiguous and evasive on critical issues. If the US is serious about a ceasefire, then please vote in favor of the other draft resolution clearly calling for a ceasefire, so that a ceasefire can be finally and immediately achieved, the Palestinians’ sufferings ended, and hostages released at an early date. For the US at the current stage, what is most important is not words, but actions. 

China will continue to work with Council members and the international community to play a responsible and constructive role in order to achieve a ceasefire and put an end to the fighting, alleviate the suffering, implement the two-State solution, and promote a comprehensive, just, and lasting solution to the question of Palestine. 

Thank you, Mr. President.

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