01 March 2024,   22:00
UN Security Council to vote on Gaza ceasefire

The UN Security Council is to meet under acute pressure from Secretary-General António Guterres and will vote on urging an immediate ceasefire after weeks of war, writes The Guardian.

In a letter to the council on Wednesday, Guterres took the extraordinary step of invoking the UN charter’s Article 99, which states that the secretary-general may bring to the attention of the council “any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security”. No one in his role had done this in decades.

Guterres wrote: “Amid constant bombardment by the Israel Defense Forces, and without shelter or the essentials to survive, I expect public order to completely break down soon due to the desperate conditions, rendering even limited humanitarian assistance impossible”.

After he sent his urgent letter, the United Arab Emirates prepared a draft resolution that will be put to a vote on Friday, according to the delegation from Ecuador, which chairs the council this month and decides on scheduling issues. The latest version of this document was seen Thursday by AFP and calls the humanitarian situation in Gaza “catastrophic” and “demands an immediate humanitarian ceasefire”.

The short text also calls for protection of civilians, the immediate and unconditional release of all the hostages Hamas is still holding, and humanitarian access to the Gaza Strip. But the outcome of a vote is not clear – four earlier drafts presented since the war broke out were rejected by the Security Council.