Thursday , April 25 2024

US veto sent wrong message over Gaza: China

22-02-2024

BEIJING: China has sharply criticized the US for vetoing a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Beijing said the move sent the “wrong message” and effectively gave a “green light to the continued slaughter”.

The White House said the Algerian-proposed resolution would “jeopardize” talks to end the war.

The US has proposed its own temporary ceasefire resolution, which also warned Israel not to invade the city of Rafah.

There has been widespread condemnation of the US decision to block Algeria’s resolution as fighting continued in Gaza. It was backed by 13 of the 15 members of the UN Security Council – with the UK abstaining.

In response to the veto, China’s UN ambassador Zhang Jun said the claim the motion would interfere with ongoing diplomatic negotiations was “totally untenable”.

“Given the situation on the ground, the continued passive avoidance on an immediate ceasefire is nothing different from giving a green light to the continued slaughter,” he said.

“The spill-over of the conflict is destabilizing the entire Middle East region leading to rising risk of a wider war,” he added.

“Only by extinguishing the flames of war in Gaza can we prevent the fires of hell from engulfing the entire region.”

Algeria’s top UN diplomat declared that “unfortunately the Security Council failed once again”. “Examine your conscience, how will history judge you,” Amar Bendjama added.

US allies were also critical of the move. France’s UN envoy Nicolas de Riviere expressed regret that the resolution had not been adopted “given the disastrous situation on the ground”.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Washington’s ambassador to the UN, said it was not the right time to call for an immediate ceasefire while negotiations between Hamas and Israel were continuing.

Her UK counterpart, Barbara Woodward, said the plan could “actually make a ceasefire less likely” by endangering talks.

Israel launched its operations in Gaza following an attack by Hamas on southern Israel on 7 October, during which about 1,200 people were killed and more than 240 others taken hostage.

The Israeli military campaign has left more than 29,000 people dead in Gaza, according to the Palestinian territory’s Hamas-run health ministry.

The draft resolution proposed by the US calls for a temporary ceasefire “as soon as practicable” and on the condition that all hostages are released, as well as urging barriers on aid reaching Gaza to be lifted.

The White House has previously avoided the word “ceasefire” during UN votes on the war, but it is unclear if or when the Security Council will vote on the proposal.

It also states a major ground offensive in Rafah would result in more harm to civilians and their further displacement, including potentially into neighboring countries, a reference to Egypt but Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday he was “committed to continuing the war until we achieve all of its goals” and no pressure could change it. (Int’l Monitoring Desk)

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