Fri 08 Dec 2023 1:44 pm - Jerusalem Time

After Guterres activated Article 99, the Security Council votes today on a ceasefire in Gaza

Today, Friday, the UN Security Council, under pressure from the Secretary-General of the United Nations, decided on a call for an “immediate ceasefire for humanitarian reasons” in Gaza, while the “Riyadh Summit” delegation arrived in Washington, to complete its tour calling for an end to the Israeli war that has been ongoing for more than two months in the Strip. .

Last Wednesday, António Guterres sent a letter to the Security Council in which he used Article 99 of the Charter of the United Nations, which allows him to “draw the attention” of the Council to a file that “could endanger international peace and security,” in the first activation of this article in decades, which sparked outrage. Israel.

He wrote in his letter, "With the continuous bombing of Israeli forces, and with no shelters or minimum survival rates, I expect an imminent complete collapse of public order due to desperate circumstances, which makes it impossible to (provide) humanitarian assistance, even if it is limited."

He renewed his call for a humanitarian ceasefire to avoid “irreversible consequences for the Palestinians, and for peace and security in the region,” as he put it.

His spokesman Stephane Dujarric commented, saying, “We hope that the Security Council will take up his call,” noting that the Secretary-General has spoken since last Wednesday with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and British Secretary of State David Cameron, and with a number of Arab countries.

For 63 days, the Israeli occupation has continued its aggression against the Gaza Strip, which to date has left more than 17,000 martyrs, 46,000 injured, and massive destruction to residential neighborhoods, vital facilities, and hospitals.

The sector suffers from a shortage of food, water, fuel, and medicines, while 1.9 million people, or 85% of its population, have been displaced, amid devastation and damage that included half of its homes.

The ongoing Israeli war on the Gaza Strip for more than two months has left massive destruction in residential neighborhoods (Reuters)

Following Guterres's unprecedented message, the United Arab Emirates prepared a draft resolution to be put to a vote in the Security Council today, Friday, according to what the Ecuadorian presidency of the Council reported.

In its latest version, the draft resolution calls for an “immediate ceasefire for humanitarian reasons” in Gaza, warning of the “catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.”

The brief text also calls for “the protection of civilians,” “the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages,” and “ensuring humanitarian access.”

Result not guaranteed

However, the outcome of the vote is not guaranteed after the Security Council rejected 4 draft resolutions in the weeks following the outbreak of the war.

The Council finally broke its silence in mid-November by adopting a resolution that called for “truces and humanitarian corridors” in the Gaza Strip, and not for a “ceasefire.”

The United States, Israel's closest ally, considers that issuing a new Security Council resolution "will not be useful at the current stage," after it opposed one of the previous draft resolutions and has consistently rejected the idea of a ceasefire.

While the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the Security Council must take measures to strengthen a comprehensive ceasefire and end the war in Gaza.

While the Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, expressed his hope that the Security Council would approve the draft resolution and “listen to the courageous and principled position of the Secretary-General,” as he put it.

On the other hand, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen denounced Guterres' move and accused him - last Wednesday - of posing a "danger to world peace."

The Arab-Islamic delegation conducted visits to the permanent members of the Security Council to build an international consensus to end the war on Gaza (Anatolia - Archives)

The Riyadh Summit delegation in Washington

In a related context, an Arab ministerial delegation, today, Friday, from Washington, DC, called for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, which has continued since last October 7.

This came during a meeting in Washington that brought together the delegation - formed by a decision of the Arab-Islamic Summit in Riyadh on November 11 last year - with the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in the US Senate, Ben Cardin, and a number of members of the committee, according to what Anatolia reported from two official Arab sources.

The meeting discussed "the latest developments in the Gaza Strip and its surroundings, the military escalation in the region, and a review of the efforts made for an immediate ceasefire and the protection of defenseless civilians," according to a statement by the Saudi Foreign Ministry.

The delegation in Washington included the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, and Jordan, while during previous visits it included the foreign ministers of Palestine, Turkey, and Indonesia, and officials from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and others.

Since last November 18, the Riyadh Summit delegation has been conducting a tour that includes the capitals of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, Russia, the United States, France, and Britain), with the aim of building an international consensus to end the war on Gaza.

Source: Al Jazeera + agencies


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After Guterres activated Article 99, the Security Council votes today on a ceasefire in Gaza