United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasized on Sunday his unwavering commitment to seeking a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, asserting that the ongoing conflict undermined the credibility and authority of the Security Council. Guterres made these remarks at the Doha Forum conference, where he addressed the recent veto by Washington on a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.
“I urged the Security Council to press to avert a humanitarian catastrophe, and I reiterated my appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire to be declared,” Guterres stated. Despite the disappointing outcome, he emphasized the continued necessity of such a ceasefire, stating, “Regrettably, the Security Council failed to do it, but that does not make it less necessary. I will not give up.”
Qatar’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, affirmed Doha’s commitment to exerting pressure on both Israel and Hamas for a truce, even as the chances for success appeared to be diminishing. Qatar, serving as a key mediator with several political leaders of Hamas based in the country, has actively facilitated negotiations between the Palestinian group and Israel.
Sheikh Mohammed underscored the impact of diplomatic efforts, noting that hostages were released from Gaza due to negotiations, not solely as a result of Israel’s military actions. Despite the challenges, he maintained Qatar’s resolve in pursuing a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
The head of UNRWA, the U.N. aid agency for Palestinians, Philippe Lazzarini, decried the dehumanization of Palestinians, asserting that it has allowed the international community to tolerate Israel’s sustained attacks on Gaza. Lazzarini emphasized the urgent need for a humanitarian ceasefire, stating, “There is no doubt that a humanitarian ceasefire is needed if we want to put an end to hell on earth right now in Gaza.”
The opposition to a ceasefire from the United States and Israel stems from their belief that it would primarily benefit Hamas. Instead, Washington advocates for intermittent pauses in fighting to safeguard civilians and facilitate the release of hostages taken by Hamas in a deadly October 7 attack on Israel.
In addition to addressing the Gaza conflict, Secretary-General Guterres used the platform to appeal to leaders attending the COP28 climate conference. He urged them to reach a consensus on substantial emissions reductions to prevent global warming from exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). Despite previous commitments, Guterres highlighted that emissions are currently at a record high, with fossil fuels identified as the primary contributor.
At the climate summit in Dubai, tensions escalated as oil-producing nations clashed with other countries over a potential agreement to phase out fossil fuels. This discord jeopardizes the prospects of achieving a historic commitment to end the use of oil and gas in the context of 30 years of global warming talks.
“I urge leaders at COP28 in Dubai to agree on deep cuts to emissions, in line with the 1.5-degree limit,” Guterres urged. He further called upon fossil fuel companies and their supporters to leverage their significant resources to spearhead the transition to renewable energy, emphasizing the critical role they play in the global shift toward sustainable practices.