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Gaza ceasefire: World leaders denounce US veto on UN draft resolution

Countries including Russia, China, Norway, France and Algeria express disappointment over failure of latest bid to end conflict
America's UN envoy Linda Thomas-Greenfield casts a veto during a Security Council meeting on 20 February (AFP)

A number of countries have expressed disappointment after the US vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution by Algeria, which called for a temporary ceasefire in the besieged enclave.

The US move came despite the support of 13 other members of the Security Council, with one abstention from the UK.

Tuesday's vote marks the third time the US has vetoed a call for a ceasefire related to the latest conflict that began in October at the UN.

Washington previously vetoed an amendment proposed by Russia calling for a ceasefire in December, and an earlier resolution in October calling for humanitarian pauses.

Algeria described US opposition to a ceasefire as an “approval of starvation as a means of war” as reports continue to emerge of severe hunger among the vast majority of Palestinians in Gaza.

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Its ambassador to the UN, Amar Bendjama, made an impassioned appeal before the Security Council rejecting the displacement of Palestinians and calling for an immediate ceasefire.

“All those impeding such calls should review their policies and their calculations because wrong decisions today will have a cost on our region and our world tomorrow. And this cost will be violence and instability,” Amar Bendjama said.

China and Russia also expressed their criticism of US policy.

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Vasily Nebenzia, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, characterised the veto as "yet another dark chapter in the history of the Security Council".

He said that the US is actively supporting the realisation of what he called Israel's "inhumane plan" for Gaza. These plans, according to Nebenzia, are aimed towards the "cleansing" of the Palestinian territory.

Beijing called the US veto "disappointing” and the Chinese envoy to the UN, Zhang Jun was quoted in Xinhua as saying that the US objection is no “different from giving the green light to the continued slaughter”.

Similar wording came from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who said the veto is a “green light for the Israeli occupation to continue its aggression against the people of Gaza and to launch a bloody assault against Rafah."

While the UK abstained, France, which voted in favour of the resolution, said it will continue pushing for a ceasefire and a return of Israeli hostages held by Palestinian groups.

The French envoy to the UN, Nicolas de Riviere, posted on X that Paris “regrets that the resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza could not be adopted, given the disastrous situation on the ground”.

Norway also said it “regrets” the failure to adopt a resolution, with its envoy also posted on X saying: “It is imperative to end the horror in Gaza.”

Arab reactions

Jordan also joined the chorus of states condemning the failure to secure a ceasefire at the UN Security Council.

In a statement issued by the Jordanian foreign ministry, Amman said that this failure “reflects the international community’s struggle to contain the humanitarian crisis caused by the ongoing Israeli war against Gaza”.

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Jordanian foreign ministry spokesman Sufian Qudah decried what he called the Security Council’s “repeated failure” to bring the war on Gaza to a halt.

Meanwhile, Qatar’s UN ambassador, Alya Ahmed Saif al-Thani, said her country would “continue efforts to work with partners to ensure a humanitarian ceasefire in the Strip”.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry issued a statement and stressed the “need now more than ever to reform the Security Council to carry out its responsibilities in maintaining peace and security with credibility and without double standards”.

As for Hamas, the group criticised the US for giving Israel the "green light" to commit "more massacres".

"This veto serves the agenda of the Israeli occupation, obstructs international efforts to stop the aggression, and increases the suffering of our people," Hamas said in a statement on Tuesday.

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