General Assembly Security Council

UNSC Open Debate on Middle East

 Mr. President,

 

  I thank the French Presidency for convening this high-level Open Debate today.

 

  The conflict in Gaza has been raging for more than a hundred days, with loss of lives, a deteriorating humanitarian situation and rising instability in the region and beyond.

 

Mr. President,

 

  The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has also led to large scale loss of civilian lives, especially women and children, and has resulted in an alarming humanitarian crisis. This is clearly unacceptable, and we have strongly condemned the death of civilians. It is critical to prevent further escalation of violence and hostilities. It is imperative to avoid the loss of civilian lives in any conflict situation

 

   India has a longstanding and uncompromising position against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We are aware that the immediate trigger for the conflict were the terror attacks in Israel on 7th October 2023. There can be no justifications for terrorism and hostage taking. Our thoughts are with those who have been taken as hostages and we reiterate the demand for their immediate and unconditional release.

 

  The ongoing conflict is also impacting the safety of maritime commercial traffic in the Indian Ocean, including some attacks in the vicinity of India. This is a matter of great concern to the international community and has a direct bearing on India’s own energy and economic interests. This fraught situation is not to the benefit of any party, and this must be clearly recognized.

 

Mr. President,

 

  The leadership of India is in constant touch with the leaders of the region, including those of Israel and Palestine, and we have voiced our views in multilateral fora. The message that India has conveyed since the start of this conflict is clear and consistent – it is important to prevent escalation, to ensure continued delivery of humanitarian aid. The humanitarian situation needs to be addressed in earnest. We welcome the efforts of the UN and international community in this regard.

 

  India has, delivered shipments of relief material to the Palestinian people in Gaza. We have also provided USD 5 million, including the USD 2.5 million we provided  in end December, to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) which will go to support the Agency’s core programmes and services, including education, healthcare, relief and social services provided to Palestinian refugees.

 

Mr. President,

 

  I wish to conclude by reiterating India’s long-standing support for a Two-State solution where the Palestinian people are able to live freely in an independent country within secure borders, with due regard to the security needs of Israel. We firmly believe that only a Two-State solution, achieved through direct and meaningful negotiations between both sides on final status issues, will deliver an enduring peace that the people of Israel and Palestine desire and deserve. For this, we urge all parties to de-escalate, eschew violence, avoid provocative and escalatory actions, and work towards creating conditions for an early resumption of direct peace negotiations. I thank you.

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