Doctors Without Borders head slams US vetoes of Gaza ceasefire at UN

Doctors Without Borders head slams US vetoes of Gaza ceasefire at UN
Doctors Without Borders head slams US vetoes of Gaza ceasefire at UN

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Israel’s bombing campaign has killed at least 29,410 people, mostly women and children, according to the latest count by Gaza’s health ministry. — AFP pic

NEW YORK, Feb 23 — The head of Doctors Without Borders said he was “appalled” as the United States repeatedly vetoes UN Security Council calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, accusing the body of deliberating and delaying “while civilians died”.

“Meeting after meeting, resolution after resolution. This body has failed to effectively address this conflict,” Secretary General Christopher Lockyear told the Council.

“We have watched members of this council deliberate and delay while civilians died,” said the leader of the international NGO, which also goes by the name Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF).

As one of five permanent members of the 15-member UN Security Council, the United States has a veto that it has wielded three times so far to bar the body from calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, where its ally Israel is waging a devastating war.

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International concern has spiralled over Gaza’s escalating civilian death toll and the desperate humanitarian crisis sparked by the war, which followed Hamas’s October 7 attack against Israel.

That assault resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Israel’s retaliatory campaign has killed at least 29,410 people, mostly women and children, according to the latest count by Gaza’s health ministry.

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The toll has seen pressure grow on the administration of US President Joe Biden to rein in its ally Israel, but the United States has argued that such a call from the Security Council could jeopardise talks to free hostages taken by Hamas in the October 7 attack.

The US did circulate an alternative Gaza resolution after its most recent veto this week that does for the first time mention the word “ceasefire” — but with no call for it to be enacted immediately.

Lockyear dismissed Washington’s move as “misleading at best”.

He said MSF was “appalled by the willingness of the United States to use its powers as a permanent Council member to obstruct efforts to adopt the most evident of resolutions. One demanding an immediate and sustained ceasefire.”

“This Council should reject any resolution that further hampers humanitarian efforts on the ground and leads this Council to tacitly endorse the continued violence and mass atrocities in Gaza,” he continued.

“The people of Gaza need a ceasefire, not when practicable, but now. They need a sustained ceasefire, not a temporary period of calm. Anything short of this is gross negligence.” — AFP

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