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Tuesday, 26 March 2024 11:16

Countries react to UN Security Council call for immediate Gaza ceasefire.

Staff Reporter.

The UN Security Council on Monday called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza five months into the grinding war, despite Israel's ally the United States abstaining.

Here are some reactions to the resolution to halt fighting over the Muslim holy month of Ramadan with an aim for a "lasting" truce, which drew rare applause at the Security Council:

- United Nations -

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for swift implementation of a ceasefire after Israel voiced anger over the resolution.

"Failure would be unforgivable," Guterres wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

- Hamas -

Hamas welcomed the resolution to halt fighting in Gaza while saying it was ready to negotiate the release of hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

"We also affirm our readiness to engage in an immediate prisoner exchange process that leads to the release of prisoners on both sides," the militant group said.

- Israel -

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said the UN vote "hurts both the war effort and the effort to release the abductees".

"It gives Hamas hope that international pressure will allow them to accept a ceasefire without the release of our abductees," the statement said. It also took aim at the US abstention, calling it a "clear retreat" from its earlier position.

- Palestinian Authority -

Hussein al-Sheikh, minister for civilian affairs of the Palestinian Authority which has partial administrative control in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, hailed the resolution in a post on X.

"We call for a permanent cessation to this criminal war and Israel's immediate withdrawal from the Gaza Strip," he wrote.

- United States -

Following the vote, the United States said a ceasefire can "only" be implemented once Hamas begins releasing hostages it still holds.

"A ceasefire can begin immediately with the release of the first hostage," US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.

After the United States vetoed previous drafts, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told journalists that the US decision to abstain from Monday's vote does not represent a "shift in our policy".

- Arab League -

The Arab League's Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the decision "comes late".

"The lesson now is to implement the decision on the ground, stop military operations and Israeli aggression immediately and completely," he added.

- EU -

Top European Union officials welcomed the resolution, calling for a ceasefire and the unconditional release of all hostages.

"Implementation of this resolution is vital for the protection of all civilians," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote on X.

- Egypt -

The resolution "represents the first important and necessary step to stop the bloodshed," the Egyptian ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement to the UN.

- Brazil -

The Brazilian government said it "hopes that the ceasefire will be implemented immediately, as stipulated by the resolution, and reiterated "the urgency of ensuring the effective entry of an expanded and regular flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza, as well as the release of all hostages".

- France -

France's UN representative called for a sustained truce between Israel and Hamas beyond the ongoing month of Ramadan.

"This crisis is not over," said Nicolas de Riviere. "After Ramadan, which ends in two weeks, it will have to establish a permanent ceasefire."

- Germany -

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said she was "relieved by the adoption of the resolution". "Every day counts," she added.

- Iraq -

Baghdad's foreign minister applauded the resolution in a statement and stressed "the importance for the parties to respect their obligations under international law".

- Jordan -

Jordan's foreign ministry expressed hope that the UN and international community would "take action to safeguard the two-state solution and ensure the establishment of an autonomous and sovereign Palestinian state".

- Lebanon -

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati hailed the "first stage in the process of ending Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip."

He also called for a political solution "to end the conflict and give the Palestinians their rights".

- Qatar -

Qatar said it hopes the resolution "represents a step towards a permanent cessation of fighting in the Strip".

The gas-rich emirate has been engaged in weeks of mediation between Israel and Hamas to secure a truce in Gaza and an exchange of hostages and prisoners.

- South Africa -

Foreign minister Naledi Pandor welcomed the resolution on public radio but stressed that "the ball is in the court of the Security Council".

- Spain -

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on X applauded the resolution, and said that "the realisation of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security is the only realistic and viable solution for the region".

- The Netherlands -

Outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the next step was "to stop the violence, free the hostages, immediately send in vastly more humanitarian aid to Gaza and find a lasting solution".

The country's far-right leader, Geert Wilders, who swept to victory in recent polls, on X voiced support for Israel "against the dark forces of hate and destruction called Hamas".

- Turkey -

Turkey called the resolution and prospective return of humanitarian access to Gaza "a positive step".

"We hope that Israel will comply with the requirements of this resolution without delay," Turkish foreign affairs spokesman Oncu Keceli wrote on X.

- Chile -

Chile's foreign office said it was "necessary to progress the two state solution, in which Palestine and Israel can live in peace inside internationally recognised borders."

- Colombia -

"I invite the world's nations if Israel breaks this ceasefire to break diplomatic relations with this country," said Colombian President Gustavo Petro on X.

- NGOs -

Amnesty International's Secretary General Agnes Callamard said the resolution is "long overdue" and called for "an immediate and comprehensive arms embargo".

Human Rights Watch's UN lead Louis Charbonneau called for Israel to halt "unlawful attacks", for Palestinian armed groups to "immediately release all civilians held hostage", and for the US and others to suspend "arms transfers to Israel".

Oxfam's UN representative Brenda Mofya said the resolution should provide "much-needed respite from the relentless and devastating Israeli violence".