UK Statement by Ambassador James Kariuki at the UN Security Council meeting on Gaza

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The UK welcomes the agreement for a coordinated release of hostages and pause in the fighting in Gaza

22 November 2023

Thank you, President, I thank Executive Directors Bahous, Russell, and Kanem for briefing us today.

The humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza is acute. The loss that innocent civilians are suffering is incomprehensible. Too many – including women and children – are losing their lives. Our collective priority must be to alleviate this suffering. It is crucial that all sides uphold international humanitarian law and take all possible measures to protect innocent civilians, including at hospitals and schools.

We welcome the announcement of the agreement reached today for a coordinated release of hostages and pause in the fighting. This is a crucial step towards providing relief to the families of the hostages and addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. We urge all parties to ensure the agreement is delivered in full.

The UK welcomes the immense international cooperation, including the efforts from Qatar, Egypt, the US, and Israel, that has led to an agreement being reached.

President, this pause provides an important opportunity to ensure much greater volumes of food, fuel and other life-saving aid can reach Gaza on a sustained basis. We are particularly concerned for civilians in northern Gaza, where there has been no water or food supplied for at least two weeks, and hospitals and health centres are unable to function. These people urgently need help, and they need it now.

The UK continues to call and advocate for increased land access through the Rafah crossing, and the full opening of the Kerem Shalom crossing, to get critical goods into Gaza at much greater speeds. We continue to press Israel to authorise the entry of at least 200,000 litres of fuel per day.

Whilst the UK regrets that resolution 2712 could not clearly condemn Hamas’ terror attacks of 7 October, we strongly support the objective of that resolution: to get aid in, and hostages and civilians out. And to achieve that objective, we call for the resolution’s urgent implementation.

Finally, President, we share colleagues’ concerns about escalatory actions which disrupt regional peace and security. The UK is intensively engaging with partners to prevent further escalation. We condemn the unlawful seizure of the MV Galaxy Leader by the Houthis on 19 November and call for the immediate, and unconditional, release of the ship and its crew.

We continue to work towards a two-state solution which provides justice and security for both Israelis and Palestinians.

I thank you.

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