Thursday, May 23, 2024

Foreign Minister calls for Gaza ceasefire in UN address

Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, has told the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York that an immediate ceasefire is needed in Gaza to halt the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe. 

In his speech to a UNGA debate on the Middle East today, Mr Peters said “Palestinian civilians continue to bear the brunt of Israel’s military actions”.

“Gaza, which was already facing huge challenges before this conflict, is now a wasteland.” 

Mr Peters said the UN Security Council, due to the repeated use of the veto by permanent members, had not acted decisively on the matter.

“This has seen the Council fail in its responsibility to maintain international peace and security,” he said. 

The Foreign Minister called on Hamas to release all remaining hostages immediately. 

“New Zealand condemns Hamas for its heinous terrorist attacks on 7 October and since, including its barbaric violations of women and children.”

Mr Peters said Israel must do everything in its power to enable safe, rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access into and throughout Gaza.

“New Zealand is gravely concerned by repeated indications from Israel that it may soon launch a military offensive into Rafah,” he said. “Palestinian civilians should not be made to pay the price of defeating Hamas.”

He underscored that Israel and the Palestinians could only live in peace and security under a two-state solution. 

“There is overwhelming support in the international community for a two-state solution. Achieving this will require serious negotiations by the parties and must involve a Palestinian state.”

Gaza will continue to be a feature of Mr Peters’ ongoing visit to New York and Washington DC, which includes meetings this week with the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

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