Explanation of Vote Delivered by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Representative to the United Nations, on a UN Security Council Draft Resolution on the Situation in the Middle East

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March 22, 2024

Thank you again, Mr. President.

Colleagues, today, the United States put forward a resolution in good faith after consulting with all Council Members and after multiple rounds of edits. The vast majority of this Council voted in favor of this resolution, but unfortunately, Russia and China decided to exercise its veto.

And now, Russia and China will give you all sorts of explanations for its obstruction. But whether or not it will admit it, there are two deeply, deeply cynical reasons behind its vote.

First, Russia and China still could not bring itself to condemn Hamas’ terrorist attack on October 7. Can we just pause on that for a moment?

Russia and China refuse to condemn Hamas for burning people alive, for gunning down innocent civilians at a concert, for raping women and girls, for taking hundreds of people hostage.

This was the deadliest single attack on Jews since the Holocaust. And a permanent member of this Council can’t even condemn it? I’m sorry, it’s really outrageous, and it’s below the dignity of this body.

The second reason behind this veto is not just cynical, it’s also petty. Russia and China simply did not want to vote for a resolution that was penned by the United States, because it would rather see us fail than to see this Council succeed. Even after inclusive consultations over weeks and weeks. Even after negotiations and edits produced a draft that received overwhelming Council support.

And as you saw today, nearly every Council member voted to put the full weight of this body behind the diplomatic efforts to secure an immediate and sustained ceasefire as part of a deal that leads to the release of all hostages that will allow much more humanitarian aid to get into Gaza.

But once again, Russia put politics over progress. Russia, who has carried out an unprovoked war on its neighbor, has the audacity and hypocrisy to throw stones when it lives in a glass house itself.

So, let’s be honest: for all the fiery rhetoric, we all know that Russia and China are not doing anything diplomatically to advance a lasting peace or to meaningfully contribute to the humanitarian response effort.

Colleagues, there is obviously another resolution that some of you would like to be considered. But, in its current form, that text fails to support sensitive diplomacy in the region. Worse, it could actually give Hamas an excuse to walk away from the deal on the table.

All of us want to see this Council speak out. But we should not move forward with any resolution that jeopardizes the ongoing negotiations. And these are not just negotiations that are being carried out by the United States. Others in the region, Qatar and Egypt are engaged on these negotiations.

So, if that alternative resolution comes up for a vote and does not support the diplomacy happening on the ground, we may once again find this Council deadlocked. I truly hope that that does not come about.

And so, for our part, the United States will keep at it. We’ll continue to work toward a deal alongside Qatar and Egypt. And we will work with any Council Member that is seriously interested in adopting a resolution that will help make that deal possible.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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