Explanation of vote by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia before the UNSC vote on the Russia-proposed amendment to the draft resolution (put forward by Malta) on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
Before the Security Council proceeds with the vote on the draft resolution that has been put forward by Malta, we would like to propose an oral amendment to the operative part of the resolution.
We propose paragraph 3 bis that goes as follows. “Further calls for an immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities”.
Members of the Security Council are familiar with this language. It repeats word-by-word the first operative paragraph of the resolution "Protection of civilians and upholding legal and humanitarian obligations" adopted by the General Assembly on 26 October during its 10th emergency special session by an overwhelming majority of votes.
Our proposal does not come as a surprise. From the very beginning of the crisis, we have been saying that with the number of civilian casualties rising in front of our eyes, the main task is to achieve a ceasefire and a cessation of violence. The Arab Group has repeatedly stated the same, including in the outcome statement of the recent LAS-OIC summit. If this provision fails to be included in the resolution, it may give the impression that the UN Security Council be satisfied solely with humanitarian pauses that Israel grants at its discretion. From our contacts with the vast majority of colleagues, we know very well that this is not the case.
Unfortunately, all this time the United States has consistently blocked any (even the faintest) mention of this goal, even hints that the Council should revisit this issue. I now turn to our American colleagues. When working on the Maltese draft, you crossed out everything that could in any way point to the need for a cessation of hostilities. Does that mean that you are in favor of the war in the Middle East going on indefinitely? We do not think the Security Council should take its lead from the United States in this matter.
Our amendment that calls for a humanitarian truce meets the objective of the sponsors of the draft to uphold the resolution’s strictly humanitarian character. That is the lowest common denominator, below which the Council simply cannot afford to go. All the more so against the backdrop of the horrific humanitarian situation in Gaza and the reported raiding of Al-Shifa hospital by Israeli forces. Two UNRWA schools were hit today. It is our duty to save the lives of civilians in deadly danger. I hope that you all share that position.
May I remind that the majority of UNSC member states, namely the delegations of Russia, China, Brazil, Ecuador, France, Gabon, Ghana, Malta, Mozambique, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates, have already voted earlier in the General Assembly in support of the language that we propose today.
We call on the members of the Security Council to support it now too.