Explanation of vote by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia after UNSC vote on a draft resolution on humanitarian access to Gaza

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December 22, 2023



When I introduced our amendment earlier today, I said that the vote on it would be the moment of truth. And so it was. Once again, the United States exposed itself before the whole world by blocking even a very weak call by the Security Council for a cessation of hostilities in Gaza. Playing an extremely unscrupulous game, Washington pushed through a language that actually gave Israel a license to kill Palestinian civilians in Gaza under the pretext of “creating conditions for a cessation of hostilities”. At a briefing today, John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications at the White House National Security Council, said that the Israeli authorities understand the need to reduce the intensity of fighting in the Gaza Strip and that it is up to them to decide when that will happen.

Colleagues, this is a tragic moment for the Council. This is not a moment of triumph of multilateral diplomacy, but a moment of great dirty blackmail, open disregard on the part of Washington for the suffering of the Palestinians and the aspirations of the global community to put an end to it. Today, the US Permanent Representative advertised Washington’s highest-level “direct bilateral diplomacy”. We have heard this point before and we see where it has led us to. The Security Council is essentially being asked to “stay out of the way” while the US does the arms-twisting in the region. And that is not for the sake of peace, as my American colleague claims, but to ensure Washington’s narrow self-interest.

Colleagues, if this document were not supported by a number of Arab states, we certainly would have vetoed it. We note that a number of co-sponsors, including Arab states, have withdrawn their co-sponsorship. But we have always maintained that the Arab world is capable of making its own decisions and taking full responsibility for them. That is the only reason why we have not blocked this document. But I want to emphasize once again that we strongly disagree with the content of the current OP2 and assume that the responsibility for all possible consequences will fall on those states that gave their consent to this edition, which was pushed through by the US. We cannot subscribe to this.


Regardless of the result of today’s vote, Security Council’s clear demand for a full-fledged ceasefire remains imperative. Otherwise, as the experience of Security Council resolution 2712 has already shown, the implementation of the Council’s decisions in Gaza is simply impossible. On December 8, during his address to the Council, UN Secretary-General Guterres unequivocally pointed to this. A similar conclusion follows from the letter he circulated in the Council with options for monitoring resolution 2712. We assume that, no matter how much the United States resists in defending its main Middle Eastern ally, the Council will return to this issue and will clearly and unequivocally demand a cessation of hostilities.

Thank you.

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