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Russia urges not to support US draft resolution on Gaza at UN Security Council — envoy

The alternative draft Security Council resolution on Gaza proposed by the US is not an alternative at all, but another license to kill Palestinian civilians, Vasily Nebenzya said
Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya Valery Sharifulin\TASS
Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya
© Valery Sharifulin\TASS

UNITED NATIONS, February 28. /TASS/. Russia calls on the UN Security Council not to support the US draft resolution on the Middle East, saying that this document is nothing but a license to kill Palestinian civilians, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya said.

"The alternative draft Security Council resolution on Gaza proposed by the US does not contain a call for a ceasefire and is aimed at extending the UN umbrella over the Israeli operation in the enclave. This is not an alternative at all, but another license to kill Palestinian civilians that the US is determined to give Israel by submitting it to the UN Security Council this time. We urge the members of the Council not to support this destructive endeavor," he said in his speech to the UN Security Council.

"By blocking international efforts to stop the violence in Gaza, Washington bears full responsibility for the unprecedented number of civilian victims of this escalation, the number of which has already approached 30,000. This is the price of the American veto in the UN Council," he said, adding that an urgent ceasefire and Israel's compliance with international humanitarian law is "the only and vital imperative to prevent mass starvation in Gaza."

"However, all attempts by the Council to adopt such a decision have been blocked by the US, which has used its veto four times. Against the backdrop of tens of thousands of dead and starving people in Gaza, the US delegation continues to cynically argue that a ceasefire is almost dangerous because it will undermine some fragile US diplomacy on the ground," the diplomat pointed out.

On February 20, the US once again blocked the adoption by the UN Security Council of a draft resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Thirteen of the 15 members of the Security Council, including Russia and China, voted in favor of the document submitted by Algeria. The UK abstained and the United States vetoed the resolution.

The UN Security Council should consider imposing sanctions against countries obstructing humanitarian access to the Gaza Strip, Nebenzya said.

"The note issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in accordance with Security Council Resolution 2417 (adopted in 2018 and condemning the use of starvation against civilians as a method of warfare - TASS), leaves the UN Security Council no choice but to continue to seek a ceasefire to create the necessary conditions for the work of humanitarian and medical personnel. <...> It is also important not to forget that, according to the provisions of the abovementioned resolution, the Security Council has the right to consider imposing sanctions against those who obstruct humanitarian access to those in need. We believe that now is the time to activate this provision," he said.

Nebenzya pointed out that the ceasefire "is important first and foremost for the creation of safe, uninterrupted humanitarian corridors." "In addition to the delivery of aid through them, it is necessary to establish the evacuation of seriously ill people who, in the absence of treatment, face imminent death in Gaza," he added.

Funding for UNRWA

"Another shocking example is the readiness with which a number of Western donors, even before the investigation was completed, suspended funding for UNRWA in the middle of the humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip, putting the agency's activities on the verge of collapse. This move can hardly be seen as anything other than blatant immoral donor blackmail and the politicization of humanitarian issues. We expect that the Council will have the opportunity to discuss this issue separately in the coming days," he said at a UN Security Council meeting.

In late January, a number of countries, including the US, the UK, Germany and Canada, announced the suspension of UNRWA funding over suspected links to the radical Palestinian movement Hamas. UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini ordered the dismissal of several agency employees allegedly involved in an attack by Hamas militants on Israel in October 2023.

The US draft resolution

The US had earlier prepared its own draft resolution on the Middle East. The US document does not call for an immediate ceasefire, but only includes a paragraph emphasizing support for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza "if feasible," provided that all hostages are released.