Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at resumed 10th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question



For more than two months now, the world has been witnessing a horrific drama unfolding in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict zone. Every hour dozens of innocent civilians are killed in Gaza. We note the efforts of the Egypt-led Arab group to draft a relevant UNGA resolution demanding a ceasefire and an immediate release of hostages to prevent a humanitarian disaster in Gaza. For our part, we have cosponsored the Arab initiative and hope that, following the General Assembly, the Security Council will finally be able to fulfill its obligations. All the more so because the representatives of the UAE have prepared and submitted another draft resolution for consideration of the Security Council - on increasing and monitoring the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza.


In fact, the plan to bomb the Gaza Strip back into to the Stone Age is being implemented right before our eyes. The scale of this catastrophe has forced the UN Secretary-General, for the first time in many years, to invoke Article 99 of the UN Charter and call on the UN Security Council to adopt a decision that would put an end to the bloodshed.

Bitter as it may be, but we must note that in all this time, collective efforts within the framework of the United Nations have not produced the desired result. But the reason is not that multilateral diplomacy has stalled. And it is not because of the Security Council's "inability" to fulfill its purpose, as some say, including today. Let us call things by their proper names: the reason is that the United States stands as an impregnable obstacle in the way of all peacekeeping efforts.

From the very beginning, the United States has explicitly rejected multilateral diplomacy. We have heard from American representatives that as long as Washington is engaged in bilateral "quiet diplomacy" on the ground, no one should interfere so as not to spoil anything. This is the main reason why the UN Security Council has not been able to take any decisive action in all this time.

A number of UNSC members have proposed draft decisions to resolve the situation and have held intensive negotiations in good faith, almost around the clock. The UAE, Russia, and China regularly request Council meetings to discuss the situation in Gaza - which, incidentally, our Western colleagues have never done. As early as October 16, Russia proposed the very first draft resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire. Western delegations did not support it. Because of the American veto, the Brazilian draft, which was garnering sufficient support among the members of the Security Council, also failed to pass. Since then, many terrible events have taken place that have revealed the inevitability of what we have been talking about from the very beginning - an unambiguous demand for the parties to cease hostilities and violence. It is not a request but a demand, as befits the Security Council. The UN Security Council was close to adopting such a decision on December 8. More than 100 co-sponsors stood together behind a draft ceasefire provision formulated by the Arab Group and submitted on its behalf by the UAE. The "brief, simple and crucial" document, as the authors from the UAE delegation characterized it, also contained requirements for humanitarian access and the release of hostages, i.e., it reaffirmed the need for full and strict compliance with the norms of international humanitarian law, especially the protection of civilians in armed conflict. In other words, the text contained everything that the Secretary-General requested in his unprecedented address to the Security Council. We commend Abu Dhabi's efforts to prepare and promote this document and the courageous and consistent line of our Emirati colleagues. As a result, their draft was supported by 13 members of the Security Council. However, the United States again, like on October 18, protecting its main Middle Eastern ally, vetoed the Security Council's decision, and the United Kingdom abstained, not having the courage to leave Washington alone.

Such steps by the Anglo-Saxon tandem caused the horrific bloodshed to continue, triggering thousands of deaths and catastrophic destruction. By vetoing a call to ceasefire, the American side actually issued a "license to kill" and now bears full responsibility for each new victim of the conflict in Gaza. The rest of the UN Security Council and the UN membership as a whole should not share this guilt with them.


I have just returned from a visit by a number of the current and incoming Security Council members to the Rafah crossing organized by the UAE and Egypt. There, we had the opportunity to interact with local authorities, staff of the Egyptian and Palestinian Red Crescent, UNRWA representatives and the UN country team, as well as NGOs. We visited the hospital in El Arish and communicated via VTC with the UAE field hospital in Gaza, went to the desalination plant built by the USE on the border with Gaza and, of course, visited the Rafah crossing.

This trip gave us a better understanding of what is happening in the enclave. Maimed children in hospitals, a mother with amputated limbs who lost her entire family but gave birth to a child, hundreds of ready-to-ship trucks with humanitarian aid that are waiting for numerous checks in Egypt, then in Israel, and then again in Egypt, only after which they start to arrive in Gaza "drop by drop". There is a terrible humanitarian disaster in the Strip and it is getting worse by the day, although it is hard to imagine that it could be any worse than it is now.

From all our interlocutors, we heard only one thing: there must be a ceasefire, this slaughter must stop. This reminds me of the Nazi blockade of Leningrad during the Second World War, which lasted almost 900 days and claimed the lives of more than a million residents who died from either bombing or starvation. Is Gaza ordained for the same fate? It is inconceivable that such a thing is happening in our time.

Thank you.

Video of the statement