The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is considering a new draft resolution submitted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.
The move came mere hours after the Secretary-General, António Guterres, invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter, formally warning the council of a severe risk of collapse of the humanitarian system in Gaza.
Guterres urged the body to press to avert a humanitarian catastrophe, further calling for a humanitarian ceasefire to be declared.
The Article, which was last invoked over Lebanon in 1989, is an independent mechanism afforded the Secretary General to bring a threat to international peace and security directly to the council that is now expected to convene on the matter on Friday.
VIDEO | UN takes measures to end Gaza war, invokes Article 99 of the UN Charter:
The latest draft is brief; expressing grave concerns over the catastrophic situation in Gaza and demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. It further demands that parties comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, most notably with regard to the protection of civilians.
It is also seen as a direct effort to support the Secretary-General who is now flexing what little additional diplomatic muscle the charter affords him on issues of international peace and security.
U.N. Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, elaborates.
“Given the scale of the loss of human life in Gaza and in Israel, in such a short amount of time, the Secretary General has today delivered a letter to the President of the Security Council, invoking Article 99 of the United Nations Charter. This is the first time that António Guterres has done this since he became Secretary-General in 2017. Article 99 states that ‘the Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security. In the letter, which we are sharing with you, the Secretary-General urges the members of the Security Council to press to avert a humanitarian catastrophe, and he appeals for a humanitarian ceasefire to be declared.”
Pressure on US to support draft
Pressure is now building on key Israeli ally the United States to support the new draft – but early indications suggest Washington is unlikely to budge on demanding an immediate ceasefire.
US Department of State Spokesperson, Matthew Miller, elaborates.
“I will not speak to any resolution that hasn’t yet been introduced because we’d obviously want to look at the text of that and engage in consultations before we make a decision about how we might exercise our vote in the Security Council. I will say with regard to a ceasefire, we have made clear that we do not support actions that would leave Hamas in a place where it could continue to carry out terrorist attacks against Israel. We’ve also been clear that we support humanitarian pauses, especially if those humanitarian pauses can allow hostages to come out.”
“New moral low”
A statement from Israel’s UN Ambassador, Gilad Erdan, accused the Secretary General of reaching a new moral low by invoking Article 99, saying his call for a ceasefire was actually a call to keep Hamas’ reign of terror in Gaza; echoing earlier comments made in that regard.
“How would you respond and defend your citizens from such a clear threat with a ceasefire? How can one call for a ceasefire and at the same time claim to seek a solution to the conflict? After all, anyone who supports a ceasefire basically supports Hamas’ continued reign of terror in Gaza. Hamas is a genocidal terror organisation. They do not hide it. Not a reliable partner for peace. Don’t you see the contradiction here? Calling for both a ceasefire and peace is a paradox.”
Palestine to discuss draft resolution
Palestine’s UN envoy, Riyad Mansour, told the press on Wednesday that Arab ministers would discuss the draft resolution while on a visit to Washington on Thursday.
“On top of the agenda is this war has to stop. A ceasefire has to take place and it has to take place immediately,” adds Mansour.