Thank you, Mr. President,

On October 7, Switzerland strongly condemned the acts of terror, indiscriminate attacks and hostage-taking perpetrated by Hamas against the Israeli population.

We deplore the deaths of thousands of civilians, including hundreds of children, in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in Gaza, and offer our deepest condolences to their families, as well as to the staff of the UN and other humanitarian organizations who perished in the course of their duties.

We salute the courage of their colleagues who remain engaged in a massive humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been forced to evacuate their homes, and like the rest of the Gazan population are currently in an extremely precarious situation, without protection, access to essential services or outside aid.

Mr. President,

Switzerland shares the sense of urgency, the great concern and therefore the need for the Council to act united in the face of the situation in the Middle East. As the Secretary-General has reminded us, de-escalation, the protection of civilians, the release of all hostages and the delivery of humanitarian aid are priorities.

With these priorities in mind, Switzerland has nevertheless chosen to abstain on the resolution submitted by Russia.

As we reiterate at every opportunity, particularly in the context of large-scale humanitarian crises, Switzerland believes that this Council cannot fail - even in an emergency, and I would add: especially in an emergency - to make clear reference to international humanitarian law.

Even armed conflicts have rules.

For Switzerland, the omission of a clear reference to international humanitarian law in a Council resolution, when the situation constitutes an armed conflict, is simply not acceptable.

It is up to the Council to make respect for international humanitarian law a priority, by calling on all parties to respect the basic rules governing the conduct of hostilities and humanitarian access, and the protection of civilians, civilian infrastructure, operations and humanitarian personnel. Calls for respect for international humanitarian law must also help to curb a spiral of violence that could ignite the entire region.

This is why we will remain actively and constructively committed to ensuring that the alternative proposal submitted by your delegation, Mr. President, gives due prominence to the basic rules of international humanitarian law, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the enormous amount of work you have already put into finding a consensus within this Council. We are aware of the great effort of compromise that remains to be made in order to resolve the outstanding issues, and hope that the Council can rapidly unite its efforts to adopt a resolution along these lines. We look forward to the constructive engagement of all Council members.

Thank you all very much.

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