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UNGA president calls for great efforts to resolve Gaza crisis

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-03-05 09:25

A Palestinian checks a room of a damaged building after an Israeli airstrike in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, on March 2, 2024. [Photo/Xinhua]

UNITED NATIONS - UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Dennis Francis on Monday called for action to end violence and suffering in Gaza.

"First and foremost, an immediate humanitarian ceasefire must be implemented. The bombardment must stop, now," Francis told the General Assembly plenary meeting on the use of the veto, describing the situation in Gaza as "catastrophic", and highlighting the "shocking" death toll and the impact on children and families.

The General Assembly met to examine the US veto of the latest Security Council draft resolution calling for a ceasefire in war-torn Gaza, where a grim, forewarned landscape of famine has seen babies and children die of starvation in recent days.

Francis said that from the UN's inception in 1945, the world body and the Security Council have an overarching duty to save generations from the scourge of war, and called for the international community to act now to end Gaza crisis.

"I am shocked and horrified at the reported killing and injury of hundreds of people during disbursement of aid supplies, west of Gaza City last week," Francis said.

This comes with a rising death toll, babies dying of starvation, and 85 percent of Gaza's population -- or 1.9 million people -- are internally displaced.

Extremely concerned about pending Israeli ground operations in Rafah, where nearly 1.5 million people now reside, the UNGA president called for maximum restraint to prevail in order to save innocent civilian lives.

Israeli restrictions on humanitarian access have drastically reduced the flow of lifesaving aid to a mere trickle, with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East reports a significant 50 percent reduction in the number of trucks entering Gaza daily from January to February, he said.

"It is therefore essential that we rapidly and substantially increase the scale of humanitarian operations and ensure unrestricted access to all civilians in need," he said.

The 193 members of the UN General Assembly on April 26, 2023 adopted by consensus resolution 76/262, committing that every time a veto is cast in the UN Security Council, the General Assembly will meet within 10 days and "hold a debate on the situation as to which the veto was cast".

The initiative was born out of growing frustration over states persistently using vetos in the Security Council, including to block action aimed at halting or averting the commission of atrocity crimes, and addressing their humanitarian consequences.

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