UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Russia and China on Wednesday vetoed a US push for the UN Security Council to act on the conflict between Israel and Hamas by calling for a halt to the fighting to allow humanitarian access, protect civilians and a ceasefire. Stop arming Hamas and other militants in the Gaza Strip.
The United States put forward a draft resolution on Saturday as global condemnation grew over the worsening humanitarian crisis and rising civilian death toll in Gaza. It took the move just days after it objected to a humanitarian-focused draft resolution put forward by Brazil, arguing that more time was needed for US-led diplomacy.
The initial US text shocked many diplomats with its frankness in saying that Israel has the right to defend itself and to demand that Iran stop exporting weapons to armed groups. It did not include a call for a humanitarian truce in order for aid to arrive. But it greatly watered down the final text that was put to a vote.
“We listened to all of you,” US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the 15-member council after the double veto, which she described as disappointing. “Although today’s vote was a setback, we must not be deterred,” he added.
This was a rare move by the United States to propose Security Council action. Washington traditionally protects its ally, Israel, in the international organization.
Ten members voted in favor of the American text, while the United Arab Emirates voted no, and Brazil and Mozambique abstained from voting.
China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun told the council after the vote: “The draft resolution does not reflect the strongest calls in the world for a ceasefire and an end to the fighting, and does not help resolve the issue.” “At this moment, ceasefire is not just a diplomatic term. It means the lives and deaths of many civilians.”
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a ceasefire on humanitarian grounds.
“Commitment to act”
Following the impasse in the Security Council, the 193-member UN General Assembly will vote on Friday on a draft resolution submitted by Arab countries calling for a ceasefire. No state has veto power in the General Assembly. The decisions are non-binding, but they carry political weight.
Israel pledged to eliminate Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, in response to an attack on October 7 that killed 1,400 people. Israel bombed the Gaza Strip from the air, imposed a siege on the Strip, which is inhabited by 2.3 million people, and is preparing for a ground invasion. Palestinian authorities say more than 6,500 were killed.
Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzia, accused the United States of submitting a draft resolution that represents a Security Council mandate for a ground attack on Gaza by Israel “while thousands of Palestinian children will continue to die.”
After the double veto, the Security Council then voted on a rival text drafted by Russia calling for a humanitarian ceasefire and the withdrawal of an Israeli order for civilians in Gaza to move south before a ground offensive.
Russia failed to obtain the minimum support required, winning only four votes. The resolution requires at least nine votes and no veto by the United States, France, Britain, Russia, or China.
This was Russia’s second attempt to reach a solution. Only five Council members voted in favor of the Russian text on October 16.
Malta’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Vanessa Fraser, said that the ten elected members of the Security Council now intend to work on a new draft resolution.
“This crisis is also fraught with a growing risk of regional spillover,” she said. “This requires our full attention.” “We have a duty and a duty to act.”
Michelle Nichols reports. Edited by Cynthia Osterman and Grant McCall
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