Guterres is pessimistic about the ceasefire negotiations in the Gaza Strip

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterresdeclared this Monday in Geneva that the talks held in recent hours between Israel, the United States, the Islamist group Hamas, Egypt and Qatar are about a “gradual release of the Israeli hostages” and “a certain interruption” of the Israeli offensive go Palestinian territory.

The Portuguese diplomat emphasized what was on the negotiating table in Doha It’s not exactly what the UN demands, which means a humanitarian ceasefire and an unconditional and immediate release of the hostages. “In any case, we fully support what could lead to the release of the hostages and a reduction in the suffering of the Palestinian people,” he said after his speech at the opening session of the Human Rights Council.

Guterres also warned of the situation in Rafah, the town at the southern end of the strip on the border with Egypt, which Israel considers “Hamas’ last stronghold” in the Palestinian enclave. An offensive in the area “would not only be frightening for the more than a million Palestinian civilians seeking refuge there, but would also put the final nail in the coffin of our aid programs,” the United Nations Secretary-General said. On Sunday, however, the Israeli prime minister said Benjamin Netanyahuconfirmed that the ground attack on Rafah would take place regardless of the agreement to exchange hostages for Palestinian prisoners.

Guterres complained to the delegations present in Geneva the lack of unity shown by the UN Security Council in view of the conflict in Gaza and Ukraine. In the first case, due to the blockade of the United States and the United Kingdom; and in the second case by Russia. “The inability to act he has shown has severely, perhaps even fatally, impaired his authority,” he denounced. The three countries, together with China and France, form the core of the permanent members of the Security Council and are the only ones to have veto rights.

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The secretary-general’s comments came a week after the United States vetoed a draft Security Council resolution on Gaza prepared by Algeria. US diplomacy blocked for the third time a request for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Israeli offensive against Gaza.

Regarding the conflict in Ukraine, which entered its second year last week, Guterres stressed that the United Nations’ priority is to meet humanitarian needs within the warring country and restore safe navigation in the Black Sea, which will reduce the Export costs would allow Ukrainian grains.

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