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Countries call for swift implemenation of UN ceasefire vote

By AFP

March 25, 2024 11:25 PM


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The UN Security Council called Monday for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza five months into the grinding war, despite Israel's ally the United States abstaining.

Here are some reactions to the resolution to halt fighting over the Muslim holy month of Ramadan with an aim for a "lasting" truce, which drew rare applause at the Security Council:

 United Nations 

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for swift implementation of a ceasefire after Israel voiced anger over the resolution.

"Failure would be unforgivable," Guterres wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

 Hamas

Hamas welcomed the resolution to halt fighting in Gaza while saying it was ready to negotiate the release of hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

"We also affirm our readiness to engage in an immediate prisoner exchange process that leads to the release of prisoners on both sides," the militant group said.

 Israel 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said the UN vote "hurts both the war effort and the effort to release the abductees".

"It gives Hamas hope that international pressure will allow them to accept a ceasefire without the release of our abductees," the statement said. It also took aim at the US abstention, calling it a "clear retreat" from its earlier position.

 Palestinian Authority 

Hussein al-Sheikh, minister for civilian affairs of the Palestinian Authority which has partial administrative control in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, hailed the resolution in a post on X.

"We call for a permanent cessation to this criminal war and Israel's immediate withdrawal from the Gaza Strip," he wrote.

 United States 

Following the vote, the United States said a ceasefire can "only" be implemented once Hamas begins releasing hostages it still holds.

"A ceasefire can begin immediately with the release of the first hostage," US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.

After the United States vetoed previous drafts, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told journalists that the US decision to abstain from Monday's vote does not represent a "shift in our policy".

 EU 

Top European Union officials welcomed the resolution, calling for a ceasefire and the unconditional release of all hostages.

"Implementation of this resolution is vital for the protection of all civilians," EU President Ursula von der Leyen wrote on X.

 France 

France's UN representative called for a sustained truce between Israel and Hamas beyond the ongoing month of Ramadan.

"This crisis is not over," said Nicolas de Riviere. "After Ramadan, which ends in two weeks, it will have to establish a permanent ceasefire."

 Spain 

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez applauded the resolution, saying it was "in line with what Spain has been saying since the start of the conflict.

"It is imperative that the resolution is implemented and allows access to humanitarian aid. The realization of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security is the only realistic and viable solution for the region," he wrote on X.

 The Netherlands 

Outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte welcomed the resolution, adding, "What is now needed is to stop the violence, free the hostages, immediately send in vastly more humanitarian aid to Gaza and find a lasting solution."

The country's far-right leader, Geert Wilders, who swept to victory in recent polls, voiced support to "my Israeli friends in fighting Hamas".

"The UN, USA and Europe don't understand you are fighting an existential war. Against the dark forces of hate and destruction called Hamas," he said on X.

 Turkey 

Turkey called the resolution and prospective return of humanitarian access to Gaza "a positive step".

"We hope that Israel will comply with the requirements of this resolution without delay," Turkish foreign affairs spokesman Oncu Keceli wrote on X.

"We call on the international community to take a united stand against Israel to end the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and to find a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," he added.


AFP


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