Statement by UK Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Barbara Woodward at the UN Security Council briefing by Sigrid Kaag, UN Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza

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2 July 2024

At the outset of the Russian Presidency, let me put on record the UK’s strong view that all Council members – particularly permanent members, and even more so the Presidency of the Council – have a responsibility to uphold the principles of the Charter. We deplore the fact that Russia is shamefully failing to do that in Ukraine.

I’d like to start by joining others in thanking the Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator, for your important work to alleviate the suffering of Palestinian civilians in Gaza including the focus on women and children.

They are still facing a devastating and deteriorating humanitarian crisis. Too many people have died.

We reiterate our strong condemnation of Hamas’ 7 October attacks and we call for the immediate release of all the remaining hostages, and the return of all those who have died in captivity. We are appalled by reports of sexual violence and abuse. The UK stands firm in its condemnation of these heinous acts. A negotiated pause in the fighting that leads to a sustainable ceasefire is the best way both to secure the release of the hostages and to enable the major and essential scaling up of humanitarian aid. There is now a deal on the table, endorsed by this Council, to achieve those goals. The onus is now on Hamas to accept it.

We also continue to call on Israel to fulfil its commitments to increase the amount of aid getting into Gaza and to meet its obligations to facilitate unhindered humanitarian access. The findings of the IPC famine risk assessment demonstrate that not enough aid is getting into Gaza and reaching those in need. We also call for the immediate re-opening of the Rafah crossing, and to scale-up aid through all other crossing points.

Distribution of aid within Gaza also needs to improve. A guaranteed and functioning deconfliction mechanism is critical to this. We call on Israel to support the minimum operating requirements of the UN agencies, by providing timely approval of visas and allowing entry of armoured vehicles and personal protective equipment. President, resolution 2720 provides for a mechanism which will show whether aid is reaching those who need it. I thank Senior Coordinator Kaag and her team for their work to establish this mechanism and urge her to continue her efforts to ensure it can deliver this in a comprehensive and timely way.


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