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2024-04-18 11:05:31

Humanitarian efforts in Gaza doomed without durable ceasefire: Russia

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Humanitarian efforts in Gaza doomed without durable ceasefire: Russia

Without a comprehensive and durable ceasefire, humanitarian efforts in the Gaza Strip are doomed to fail, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya told the UN Security Council meeting, reports BSS.

"We have repeatedly warned that in the absence of a full-fledged, sustainable ceasefire regime, which must be properly monitored through military observers, humanitarian efforts are doomed. Colleagues, humanitarian workers are defenseless against an army. No amount of voluntary deconfliction will help if one side is determined to continue fighting. And especially when there are signals from a member of the Security Council that the Council's resolutions are allegedly non-binding," he said.

He went on to say that hostilities in the Palestinian enclave continue to escalate contrary to the demands of UN Security Council Resolution 2728 and in violation of norms of the international humanitarian law.

"Under these conditions, the delivery of humanitarian aid to the population of Gaza is practically impossible. UN agencies are unanimous in saying that humanitarian access to the enclave is virtually non-existent. According to OCHA, the Israel Defense Forces block half of the humanitarian convoys to Gaza. At the same time, according to information from humanitarian workers, aid is available, humanitarian supplies are waiting at the borders, and there are enough financial resources to organize deliveries. The only thing is to open the checkpoints and ensure security," he said.

Nebenzya is convinced that the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is indispensable under these circumstances.

"We call to pay tribute to the heroism of the Agency's staff, who carry out their humanitarian mandate in inhumane conditions, paying for it with their lives. To date, 178 staff members have lost their lives. That is the highest single-time death toll for a United Nations entity," he said.

"Against that background, attempts to label UNRWA as a terrorist organization and calls to disband the Agency, which we have heard in this Chamber too, are categorically unacceptable. Indiscriminate accusations against UNRWA representatives must not be used to besmirch this large and vital UN entity, which employs 13,000 people in Gaza alone. If UNRWA is suspended, this move will become yet another illegal and immoral instrument of collective punishment for millions of Palestinians in need," the Russian diplomat added.

The UN Security Council session began its work with a minute of silence in memory of humanitarian workers killed in the Palestinian enclave. According to the UN's latest estimates, at least 224 humanitarian workers have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the conflict escalated on October 7, 2023.

Bd-pratidin English/Tanvir Raihan

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