Explanation of vote by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at the UNSC vote on US-proposed draft resolution on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question

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March 22, 2024

Before the vote:


For six months now, the UN Security Council has been unable to adopt a resolution demanding a ceasefire in Gaza. Time and again, the United States thwarted any attempt to do so by using a veto in cold blood as many as four times.

During that time, we have heard many different excuses from our American colleagues. For example, that it is premature to seek a ceasefire because it is necessary to give space “for Israel’s counter-terrorism efforts”; that the Council should not interfere with Washington’s “effective diplomacy on the ground”; that we should wait until Ramadan, when, they say, an agreement on a cessation of violence will definitely be made.

Now, six months later, when Gaza has been practically leveled with the ground, the US representative says without batting an eye that Washington finally starts to realize the need for a ceasefire.

This leisurely thinking process by Washington has cost the lives of 32,000 Palestinian civilians, two-thirds of them women and children.

And even now we see a typical hypocritical show, when in the wrapper of a “ceasefire” the United States is trying to sell to the members of the Security Council and the entire international community something else – a vague phrase about “defining the imperative of a ceasefire”. Such philosophy about moral imperatives looks naturally in the works of Immanuel Kant. But it is not enough to save the lives of Palestinian people. And that is not at all what the mandate of the UN Security Council suggests, which has a unique toolkit to demand a ceasefire and, if necessary, enforce it.

In an official interview to Al Hadath in Jeddah on 20 March, Secretary of State Blinken said, “Well, in fact, we actually have a resolution that we put forward right now that’s before the UNSC that does call for an immediate ceasefire tied to the release of hostages and we hope very much that countries will support that”. However, the US-proposed draft resolution does not make such call. It appears that either the US Permanent Representative to the United Nations or the US Secretary of State deliberately mislead the international community.


From the very beginning, it was obvious that the “negotiations” on the draft resolution held by our American colleagues were only meant to delay time. All our comments and “red lines” were ignored, as well as the proposals of a number of other delegations. This was not a normal work on a document. It felt more like speaking into the void.

The US draft is a thoroughly politicized document, which only aims at pulling on voters’ heartstrings before the US elections by throwing them a “bone” in the form of at least some mention of a “ceasefire” in Gaza. The draft also seeks to consolidate US policy in the region through “terrorist labels” and to ensure impunity for Israel, whose criminal actions the draft gives no assessment to.

Let me also stress that the American draft contains a de facto green light for Israel to conduct a military operation in Rafah. At least, the sponsors have tried to make sure that nothing in their draft would prevent West Jerusalem from completing the deadly cleanup of southern Gaza.

That is actually what Washington wants. We already said that we will no longer pass meaningless resolutions that do not demand a ceasefire and lead us nowhere.

This draft must not pass with the majority of UNSC votes in order to send a message that Washington’s not even palliative but devious concepts are unacceptable. It will be extremely strange if those members of the Council (and they are the majority), who realize this and have been saying to us that the US draft is a flawed one, will now raise their hand in favor. If you do so, you will smear yourselves in disgrace.

Think what this will make you look in the eyes of the people of the Middle East and your own countries, if you support this hypocritical endeavor designed to disorient the international community and, in fact, undermine the authority of the Council by rendering it unable to influence the situation on the ground and making it “stay out of White House’s way”. Are you ready to play a part in this shameful show?

Russia will not do this. As a permanent member of the Security Council and one of the founders of the United Nations, we recognize the global historical responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and cannot allow the Council to become a tool of Washington’s destructive policy in the Middle East. If this resolution were adopted, it would definitively close the debate on the need for a ceasefire in Gaza, give Israel a free hand and condemn Gaza and its entire population to extermination or expulsion.

In our work, we are not guided by what pleases Washington or its satellites who are ready to cast a vote at the US behest, but by what is necessary for the Palestinians and what promotes peace.

We urge the members of the UN Security Council to prevent this and vote against the American draft resolution.


In order for the UN Security Council to still be able to implement its mandate to maintain international peace and security, a number of non-permanent UNSC members have prepared an alternative draft resolution that spells out in black and white the requirements for both a ceasefire and the unconditional release of hostages. It is a balanced and depoliticized document.

We see no reason why members of the Security Council could refuse to support it, unless a ceasefire and the release of hostages are not part of their plans. This is an attempt to allow the Council to carry out the noble functions entrusted to it. We urge to not miss it.

Thank you.


After the vote:


We have now listened to the hypocritical speeches of some Council members shedding crocodile tears over the Russian and Chinese vetoes. We have explained the reasons why we did not pass this resolution. It was not because it was put forward by the United States delegation, as the American Permanent Representative tried to assure us today. I told you – those of you who voted here today – that you would cover yourselves in disgrace by voting in favor of an American text that was unacceptable to you (including those of you who are now praising it).

Do you want me to say what really happened? Not hard to guess, the scenario is not complicated at all. Your American masters, in addition to “twisting the arms” of your leaders in the capitals, said, “Don’t you worry, Russia will veto anyways, so you won’t have to go against the American draft.” That’s it, that’s the whole scenario. So stop this hypocrisy about how upset you are that Russia and China vetoed the resolution. Once again, you have covered yourselves in disgrace today by voting in favor of a draft resolution that you did not and do not really support.

Thank you.

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