Swedish Statement at the UN Security Council briefing on threats to International Peace and Security

Published

United Nations Security Council briefing on threats to International Peace and Security Statement delivered by Ambassador Olof Skoog, Wednesday 30 May 2018

Thank you, Madam President,

And thank you Special Coordinator Mladenov for your, as always, pertinent briefing. We very much welcome your engagement to address the volatile situation and contribute to a de-escalation of violence.


Madam President,

I want to begin by expressing deep regret regarding the violence, including the large number of killed and injured, in the last weeks.
Sweden condemns yesterday's indiscriminate firing of rockets by Palestinian militants from Gaza towards Israel. Such attacks are unacceptable and must stop immediately.
We note that at least one of the rockets fell in the vicinity of a kindergarten. As we have stated clearly in this Chamber before, children must never be the target of violence or put at risk or encouraged to participate in violence.


Madam President,
Yesterday's attack did not take place in a vacuum. Since 30 March, this Council has been seized repeatedly relating to violence in and around Gaza.
As we all know, Gaza is on the verge of a social and economic collapse. We must urgently address the humanitarian crisis there and alleviate the suffering of its people. Only last week, we welcomed proposals to this end. We encouraged efforts to take such measures forward with renewed urgency and determination.
It is important to prioritise initiatives that have immediate positive effects in the daily lives of Palestinians in Gaza, and the wider region. UNRWA plays a critical role in providing fundamental services such as health and education, thereby contributing to stability in the region, and must receive needed urgent political and financial support from all of us. Sweden has, in words and action, repeatedly encouraged and appealed for a remedy to UNRWA's financial crisis.


We also underline the need for unimpeded access to Gaza for all humanitarian actors. It's crucial that our humanitarian support contributes to increased intra-Palestinian unity.
It is therefore high time to end the policy of closure in Gaza. While fully understanding the legitimate security concerns of Israel, Palestine and Egypt, we repeat our call for a lifting of restrictions and full and sustained access and movement. We welcome Egypt's opening of the Rafah crossing point during the Holy Month of Ramadan, as well as Egypt's efforts towards intra-Palestinian reconciliation.


Madam President,
Yesterday's developments occur at a sensitive moment in time. We once again urge all parties to act with utmost restraint to avoid loss of life and protect civilians, particularly children, to ensure that all measures taken are proportionate, and to take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation and break the cycle of violence. We welcome that the attacks and retaliations seem to have ended, at least for now.
The Council has a responsibility to contribute to de-escalation in Gaza. We regret, as many others have said around this table this afternoon, that this Council has not been able to agree on public expressions relating to the situation. The Council must come together to address the crisis, and more broadly on efforts to advance the peace process and the two-state solution. We thank the Kuwaiti delegation for their draft resolution with a call for measures for improving the situation for civilians in Palestine, including the establishment of a mechanism for this purpose, and we hope for constructive engagement by all on this draft.
Thank you.

Contact

Lisa Laskaridis
Head of Press and Communication, Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN
Phone +1 212 583 2543
Mobile +1 917 239 0941
email to Lisa Laskaridis