Sierra Leone Statement At The United Nations General Assembly On The Use Of The Veto: Item 63: Special Report Of The Security Council

Mr. President,

I thank you for convening this very meeting mandated by General Assembly resolution 76/262 with the hope that its outcome will remind the Security Council of its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, especially as it relates to the current situation in the Gaza Strip in the State of Palestine.

Sierra Leone deeply regrets that we start another year with Israel and Palestine still caught in the tragic web of conflict that has destabilized the lives of their people, including the recent escalation following the horrendous attack by Hamas on 7th October 2023.

Sierra Leone reiterates its strong condemnation of the horrific Hamas attack.

We also continue to strongly condemn the attacks on civilians and civilian objects protected under international law, in particular international humanitarian law. The report of the killing of about 22,000 Palestinian civilians, with women and children being the most affected is unacceptable and cannot justify any military or security objective.

Mr. President,

We acknowledge the efforts of the UN Security Council and the General Assembly through their relevant resolutions adopted since the 7th October 2023 escalation and urged for their immediate implementation.

We welcome the progress made in addressing the severe humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, including with specific reference to the opening of the Kerem Shalom crossing and the volume of aid being delivered into Gaza.

However, continuing hostilities and ground operations in the Gaza Strip will exacerbate an already acute situation of food insecurity that severely increases the risk of famine, malnutrition, and further deaths as projected by the UN experts on food security.

To this end, Sierra Leone would like to restate the following:

  • To minimize the risk of further deterioration of the already pathetic humanitarian situation, Sierra Leone reiterates its call for ceasefire, and at the bare minimum, expresses the need for parties to the conflict, as stated in resolutions 2712 (2023) and 2720 (2023) of the Security Council, to adhere to their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and take steps that will necessitate a ceasefire.
  • We reiterate the need for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.
  • We note with concern the escalation of tensions in the West Bank and emerging regional dynamics that could further compound the existing fragile situation in the region if appropriate de-escalation measures are not taken immediately. Therefore, we call on member states with influence in the region to engage the relevant actors to prevent regional spillover.
  • We reiterate our support for the full implementation of resolutions 2712(2023) and 2720(2023) of the Security Council and invite parties to the conflict to refrain from any unilateral action that could intensify the suffering of civilians.

In closing, Mr. President, we affirm that any decision to be taken going forward by either the General Assembly or the Security Council should be based on the “two-state solution” with Palestine and Israel living and working together side by side. This is the only option that is a beacon of hope for lasting peace in the region for both Palestinians and Israelis.

I thank you.

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