Home World News Russia, China Veto US Resolution Calling For Immediate Gaza Ceasefire

Russia, China Veto US Resolution Calling For Immediate Gaza Ceasefire

Gaza ceasefire, US resolution, UN Security Council
A general view shows a Security Council meeting at United Nations headquarters, Friday, March. 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Russia and China have vetoed a US resolution supporting “an immediate and sustained ceasefire” in the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, calling the measure ambiguous and saying it was not the direct demand to end the fighting that much of the world seeks. The vote in the UN Security Council became another showdown involving world powers that are locked in tense disputes elsewhere, with the United States taking criticism for not being tough enough against its ally Israel, whose ongoing military offensive has created a dire humanitarian crisis for the 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza.

A key issue was the unusual language that said the Security Council “determines the imperative of an immediate and sustained ceasefire”. The phrasing was not a straightforward “demand” or “call” to halt hostilities. The resolution reflected a shift by the United States, which has found itself at odds with much of the world as even allies of Israel push for an unconditional end to fighting.

In previous resolutions, the US has closely intertwined calls for a ceasefire with demands for the release of Israeli hostages in Gaza. This resolution, using wording that’s open to interpretation, continued to link the two issues, but not as firmly.

Before the vote, Russian Ambassador to UN Vassily Nebenzia said Moscow supports an immediate ceasefire but he criticized the diluted language, which he called philosophical wording that does not belong in a UN resolution. He accused US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield of “deliberately misleading the international community”.

“This was some kind of an empty rhetorical exercise,” Nebenzia said. “The American product is exceedingly politicised, the sole purpose of which is to help to play to the voters, to throw them a bone in the form of some kind of a mention of a cease-fire in Gaza … and to ensure the impunity of Israel, whose crimes in the draft are not even assessed.”

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China’s UN ambassador Zhang Jun said the US proposal set preconditions and fell far short of expectations of council members and the broader international community. “If the US was serious about a ceasefire, it wouldn’t have vetoed time and again multiple council resolutions,” he said. “It wouldn’t have taken such a detour and played a game of words while being ambiguous and evasive on critical issues.”

The US has vetoed three resolutions demanding a ceasefire, the most recent an Arab-backed measure supported by 13 council members with one abstention on February 20.

Thomas-Greenfield urged the council to adopt the resolution to press for an immediate ceasefire and the release of the hostages, as well as to address Gaza’s humanitarian crisis and support ongoing diplomacy by the United States, Egypt and Qatar. The vote in the 15-member council was 11 members in favor and three against, including Algeria, the Arab representative on the council. There was one abstention, from Guyana.

After the vote, Thomas-Greenfield accused Russia and China of voting for “deeply cynical reasons,” saying they could not bring themselves to condemn Hamas’ terrorist attacks in southern Israel on October 7, which the resolution would have done for the first time.

Source: AP