The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on May 16 held the third emergency meeting in a week to discuss the escalating tensions between Israel and Palestine.
Israeli troops fire towards the Gaza Strip from their post in Sderot city of Israel (Photo: AFP/VNA)
Participants in the open videoconference included UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, his Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland, and representatives of Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Algeria, and the Arab League.
In his opening remarks, Guterres urged the relevant sides to immediately put an end to violence and noted that the UN is actively discussing with all the parties concerned to achieve a ceasefire.
He voiced his concern about the civilian casualties caused by Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, appealing to leaders of the parties to steer clear of inflammatory statements.
Wennesland reported that since May 10, Israel had conducted 950 attacks on Gaza, killing 181 Palestinians, including at least 52 children, and injuring 1,000 others. Forty schools and at least four hospitals had been completely or partly destroyed, 18 buildings devastated and over 350 others damaged, while more than 34,000 people made homeless.
The Israeli side had also seen nine killed by rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.
Expressing their concerns over the recent tensions and risks of spiraling violence, UNSC member states called on the parties to exercise maximum self-restraint, avoid causing losses for civilians, and respect international law.
Most of the states condemned the uncontrolled violence against civilians and civilian infrastructure. They were also concerned about the humanitarian situation in Gaza, given the rising casualties and limited healthcare conditions.
Participants lauded efforts by the UN, countries, and international organisations to persuade the related parties to reach a ceasefire and resume negotiations. They reiterated the stance of supporting the two-state solution and appealed for an end to the conflict.
Many states called for the conflict’s root causes to be addressed while highlighting the role of the UN, including the Special Coordinator, the Quartet on the Middle East, as well as the states in and outside the region that are influential in the relevant parties in settling the current conflict.
For his part, Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN, expressed his deep concern over the escalating tensions between Israelis and Palestinians with growing casualties.
Vietnam condemns the attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, he affirmed.
He stressed that while seeking solutions to the conflict’s root causes, acts of violence must be ended immediately and all the relevant parties must exercise self-restraint and not complicate the situation.
Vietnam asked the parties, particularly Israel, to respect the international humanitarian law and exercise maximum self-restraint to minimise damage, including to essential infrastructure, and avoid civilian casualties as in line with the UNSC’s Resolution 2573.
Quy also underlined Vietnam’s appeal to Israel to immediately stop the excessive use of force and any unilateral act complicating the situation.
The diplomat pointed out the quickly worsening humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, voicing his serious concern about the exhaustion of fuel for power plants that may lead to a severe crisis for the healthcare and water supply sectors.
Regarding solutions and efforts by the international community, he called on all members of the international and regional communities that have influence on the parties to augment efforts to avoid risks of a war like in 2014.
The Vietnamese ambassador underscored the need to resolve the conflict by peaceful measures and that in the long run, the only sustainable path for the Middle East peace issue is to carry out the two-state solution.
He also stressed the necessity for the UNSC to have a strong and unanimous voice in this regard.
This emergency meeting was held at the request of 10 UNSC member states, namely China, Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway, Niger, Saint Vincent, the Grenadines, Tunisia, the UK, and Vietnam./.VNA