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Statement by Ambassador Anouparb Vongnorkeo, Permanent Representative of the Lao PDR at the 10th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly, Agenda Item 5 “Illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian

Tuesday, 31 October 2023

Mr. President,

The international community stands at the precipice of a grave security crisis, teetering on the brink of a major catastrophe. Immediate and unified actions are imperative to avert this impending disaster.

Following the UN Security Council’s inability to reach a consensus on a resolution for an immediate ceasefire and the provision of urgent humanitarian assistance to save innocent lives in Gaza, the responsibility now rests with the General Assembly to address this long-overdue yet critically urgent issue, with the aim of halting the ongoing violent hostilities between Israel and Palestine.

For over seven decades, political divisions have hindered progress on the Israel-Palestine issue. Regrettably, these divisions have recently stalled any concrete action from this organization to protect civilians in dire need of exercising their fundamental right to survival. As this humanitarian tragedy unfolds, it is crucial for all United Nations members to set aside unilateral political interests and unite unconditionally to save the innocent lives caught in the conflict. We urge all concerned parties to exercise maximum restraint, halt all violent acts, and re-open humanitarian corridors.

Mr. President,

The Lao PDR has been closely monitoring the violent hostilities between Israel and Palestine with deep concern, witnessing the devastating toll on lives and property. As a responsible UN member, and in our commitment to contributing to peace in the Middle East, we therefore, have supported efforts by the Arab Group, the OIC, and other UN member states to reconvene this Tenth Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly, as per GA Resolution 377 (V) of 1950.

We commend the Secretary-General, all UN personnel, and non-governmental organizations who continue to risk their lives working tirelessly in conflict areas, actively engaging with all parties to deescalate violence and prevent further humanitarian crises.

The recent three weeks of violence underscore the urgent need for an immediate, comprehensive ceasefire. Despite positive developments such as the release of (four) hostages and the initial allowance of humanitarian supplies through the Rafah checkpoint, there is much more to be done. This includes providing efficient and unconditional humanitarian assistance.

Mr. President,

Given the current circumstances, it is imperative that we pursue diplomatic solutions and promote messages of peace:

First, recognizing that violence benefits no one is crucial. Military engagement only exacerbates the crisis, making an immediate “humanitarian ceasefire” vital and underscoring the need for dialogue and negotiation.

Second, we must unequivocally condemn acts of violence and assaults on civilians. Both Palestinian and Israeli populations deserve to live free from fear, with their security equally safeguarded.

Third, strict adherence to international humanitarian law is essential. Life-saving humanitarian aid – food, water, medicine, fuel – must be allowed to reach all civilians in Gaza swiftly, safely and at scale. Ensuring the delivery of these life-saving supplies at the scale needed for the people in Gaza, including UN, UNRWA and ICRC personnel and individuals of all nationalities, is a top priority. Establishing unhindered humanitarian corridors and the unconditional release of people held captive are critical steps.

Fourth, Countries with influence in the region must collaborate with all relevant parties to prevent escalation and regional spillover.

And fifth, the ultimate resolution to the Palestinian issue lies in the implementation of the two-state solution, enabling Palestine and Israel to coexist peacefully. Working towards a comprehensive, just, and enduring settlement, guided by relevant UN resolutions and international peace efforts, is fundamental.

Mr. President,

Our immediate obligation is to protect civilians, including during acts of self-defense and in situations involving hostages, hospitals, and schools. We must discourage incitement, combat dehumanization, and work tirelessly to protect the lives of Palestinians, Israelis, and victims from other nations caught in this conflict. In conclusion, allow me to invoke the poignant words of late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin during the Oslo Accords signing ceremony in 1993: "We are destined to live together, on the same soil in the same land... Enough of blood and tears. Enough." These words serve as a timeless reminder of our shared humanity and the urgent need for peace.

I Thank You.