Malta leading negotiations on UNSC Gaza resolution

"As elected members of this Council, we also represent the rest of the international community, and we have the duty and the obligation to act." Vanessa Frazier, Malta's Permanent Representative to the UN in New York

Malta is working closely with the other nine non-permanent, elected Member States of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on a text for a resulution they hope can garner consensus and address the dire situation on the ground in Gaza.

The team at Malta’s Permanent Representation to the UN in New York will continue working incessantly over the weekend, together with their colleagues from the other nine nations, in a bid to have an agreement on a final draft text that can be adopted by the UNSC on Monday or Tuesday.

The move came on Malta’s initiative after repeated failures to pass resolutions on the Israeli war on Gaza at the UNSC. The UNSC can only adopt a resolution if at least nine of its 15 members, including all five permanent ones, vote in favour and none of the five permanent members veto it.

Malta was elected to a non-permanent seat the Security Council by the General Assembly last summer, for the period 2023-2024. The current ten non-permanent Member States of the UNSC are Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, Gabon, Ghana, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates.

“It was before the last vote was held that we proposed to the other nine elected UNSC members that we do something never done before: present a draft resolution by the elected ten countries (the E10),” Malta’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, Vanessa Frazier, told The Journal.

Such an initiative was always within the non-permanent Members’ powers but, in actual fact, it has never been done. By proposing it and obtaining unity on its proposal among the E10, Malta has made history.

After the last veto at the UNSC, PR Frazier made a statement to the Council in which, on behalf of the E10, she informed that they will submit a draft resolution themselves.

Malta’s declaration at the Security Council

President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the elected members of the Security Council, the E10. We regret that, yet again, this Council has not been able to exercise its mandate.

Confronted by escalating conflict, a dire humanitarian situation, and a loss of civilian lives, our responsibilities remain clear and present. This Council is obliged to maintain international peace and security, and to do its utmost to safeguard the lives of civilians.

The E10 remains firm in its belief that we must urgently and genuinely address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, whose population is on the brink of calamity. Hundreds of thousands of civilians, including children, have been displaced. Thousands have been killed and injured.

We cannot add to their suffering through our inability to find an agreement on a resolution that is desperately needed. Parties must allow aid in, as is their obligation under international law. We need to promote every and all mechanisms that can contribute to ensuring that assistance reaches all those in need throughout Gaza. Possible options include a humanitarian ceasefire, humanitarian pauses, and humanitarian corridors. We need to ensure the provision of essential goods and services, at scale and sustained. This includes water, food, fuel, electricity, and medical supplies.

We also recall that civilians are protected under international law, and call for safe movement, and the protection of civilian objects which are indispensable for the civilian population. While we welcome current efforts towards allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza through Rafah, and commend all partners involved, we note that the current volume of aid is utterly limited when assessed with the actual needs of the population.

This crisis is also gripped by a growing risk of a regional spill over. This demands our undivided attention. We must mitigate such risks through urging all parties to exercise restraint, de-escalate, and to respect the norms of international law.

It is for this reason that in the coming days, the E10 will be working on a new proposal. As elected members of this Council, we also represent the rest of the international community, and we have the duty and the obligation to act.

There is no time to waste.”

Malta making a difference

Asked about what this states about Malta’s role on the UNSC, PR Frazier recalled what she had stated on behalf of the country at the start of its term as non-permanent member of the Council: “I had made clear that we would use our tenure on the UNSC to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security with humility and hard work. This is a case in point where Malta can make a difference because of the reputation and respect we enjoy in the UN.”

Observers at the UN told The Journal that Malta’s latest proposal has been widely accepted as one of leadership, showing how even a small nation can have a huge impact when it acts in a principled, consistent, neutral manner in favour of peace and human rights.

Photo credit: UN/Paulo Filgueiras

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