'We cannot wait': UAE demands immediate ceasefire in Gaza, submits new draft UN resolution

A ministerial delegation from Arab nations and the 57-member OIC is expected to be in Washington today to meet US officials and press for an end to the war

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AFP
AFP

Published: Thu 7 Dec 2023, 2:19 PM

Last updated: Thu 7 Dec 2023, 9:37 PM

The UAE 'cannot wait' any longer — a ceasefire in Gaza must happen now, the country said in a statement as it submitted a new resolution to the UN Security Council.

In its latest draft resolution, the UAE called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in response to the worsening crisis in war-torn Gaza.

"The situation in the Gaza Strip is catastrophic and close to irreversible. We cannot wait. The Council needs to act decisively to demand a humanitarian ceasefire," the UAE Mission to the UN said in a post on X.

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Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, confirmed that the resolution had been submitted, pointing out that the UN should respond to the "worsening suffering of Palestinian people".

The UAE's draft resolution comes shortly after the UN's secretary-general Antonio Guterres used a rarely exercised power to warn the Security Council of an impending “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza.

His letter to the council's 15 members said Gaza's humanitarian system was at risk of collapse after two months of war that has created “appalling human suffering, physical destruction and collective trauma,” and he demanded civilians be spared greater harm.

Guterres invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter, which says the secretary-general may inform the council of matters he believes threaten international peace and security. “The international community has a responsibility to use all its influence to prevent further escalation and end this crisis," he said.

Support from Arab countries

The UAE Mission to the UN said its draft resolution "has the support of the Arab and OIC (Organisation of the Islamic Conference) group".

"This is a moral and humanitarian imperative and we urge all countries to support the call of the Secretary-General," the mission said.

On Wednesday, the 22-nation Arab Group at the UN strongly backed a ceasefire.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN ambassador, said it is essential that the UN’s most powerful body demand a halt to the conflict.

But the US, Israel’s closest ally, has veto power in the Security Council and has not supported a ceasefire.

On Tuesday, U.S. deputy ambassador Robert Wood told reporters that the role of the Security Council in the Israeli-Gaza war “is not to get in the way of this important diplomacy going on on the ground … because we have seen some results, although not as great results as we want to see.”

A Security Council resolution at this time, he said, “would not be useful.”

Mansour said a ministerial delegation from Arab nations and the 57-member OIC will be in Washington on Thursday to meet US officials and press for an immediate ceasefire.

Israeli forces unleashed an aerial and ground blitz against Hamas in Gaza after a cross-border rampage on October 7.

At least 16,015 Palestinians have been killed since then, according to Gaza Health Ministry figures, while 1,200 people were killed in Hamas' incursion into Israel, according to Israeli tallies.

(With inputs from AP, Reuters)

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