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Vietnam chairs UNSC open debate on Middle East situation

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on January 21 held a periodic open debate on the Middle East situation, including Palestine, under the chair of Vietnam.

The UNSC heard reports by UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peace-building Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo and UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Ursula Mueller.

Many speakers expressed concern over prolonged violence and conflicts between Israel and Palestine, leaving thousands of people dead, including women and children.

A majority of opinions called on Israel to immediately end settlement activities in the occupied West Bank, including the East Jerusalem. The UN and countries affirmed that such activities are a serious violation of international law as mentioned in the UNSC’s Resolution No.2234 in 2016.

Meanwhile, the economic crisis, the lack of medicines, electricity and clean water continue impacting lives of Palestinians in Gaza Strip. About 70 percent of Palestinian women living in the area are unemployed.

Over the past years, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the UN Development Programme and the World Bank have conducted humanitarian activities, generating tens of thousands of jobs in the Gaza Strip.

A number of delegates asked Israel to immediately end restrictions on travel and trade in Gaza Strip.

The UN and countries affirmed their consistent support for the two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for the pre-1967 borders, as well as the serious implementation of the UN’s relevant resolutions and previous agreements.

They also urged parties concerned to exercise utmost restraint and prevent escalation.

Speaking on behalf of his own country, Head of the Vietnam’s Permanent Mission to the UN, Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy expressed Vietnam’s concern over rising violence in occupied territory, and condemned attacks on civilians, women, children, and civil infrastructure such as schools, crops and assets of people.

Vietnam called on parties concerned to exercise utmost restraint and avoid actions that could incite violence, respect and enforce international law and the UNSC’s relevant resolutions, he said.

Quy urged Israel to immediately end the building of illegal settlements and lift travel restriction in occupied territory. He also expressed support for the UNRWA’s tasks.

Vietnam pursues the consistent policy of supporting the fight for justice by Palestinians for their inviolable rights, including the right to national self-determination and the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State, he said, adding that the only solution to the Israel – Palestine conflict is the establishment of a Palestinian State with pre-1967 borders, and living in peace, security and mutual respect with the Israeli State.

The open debate will continue on January 22.