Mr President,

Switzerland voted in favour of the draft resolution presented by the United States of America, and regrets that it was not adopted due to the veto of two permanent members of the Security Council.

In light of the intolerable suffering on the ground, it would have been necessary for the Council to achieve a tangible result and send a signal of capacity for action and clear unity in favour of the protection of civilians.

All the members of the Council contributed to the numerous consultations on the text put to the vote today and I thank the United States for its efforts. Right up to the last resort, however, Switzerland argued for its content to be brought closer to the clear and concrete request, made repeatedly by a very large majority of members of this Council, for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire without any preconditions.

It is high time that an unequivocal request for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire was the subject of a consensus within the Council.

In view of the catastrophic humanitarian situation in which civilians find themselves in Gaza, starting with children and the hundreds of thousands of displaced persons prey to bombardments, the risk of famine and epidemics, such a ceasefire remains a priority and extremely urgent step. The supply of humanitarian aid, which the entire population of Gaza needs today, must be able to take place quickly, safely and without hindrance.

We note that the American text does not explicitly call for the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages - a demand that a large majority of Council members, including Switzerland, have consistently made since the acts of terror perpetrated by Hamas on 7 October. On the other hand, Switzerland welcomes the condemnation of these acts in the text.

Finally, Switzerland remains very concerned about the humanitarian consequences of the current hostilities. A major military offensive in Rafah would significantly worsen the already catastrophic situation of the civilian population and would create a new major obstacle to the delivery of humanitarian aid. Such a prospect is unacceptable and cannot be endorsed by this Council.

Today's failure must under no circumstances be interpreted as a signal to the parties to continue hostilities. For this reason, Switzerland remains committed, including with the elected members of the Security Council, to ensuring rapid action by the Council. We also encourage and thank all the negotiation efforts underway, led by the United States, Egypt and Qatar.

It also remains our duty to ensure that these obligations under international law, in particular international humanitarian law and human rights law, are respected by all parties in all circumstances, even in the absence of resolutions emanating from the Council, in order to protect and assist civilian populations.
Switzerland remains committed to unified action aimed at bringing this conflict to an end and re-establishing a political horizon, in accordance with our mandate to maintain peace and security.

Thank you.

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