Security Council meeting Threats to international peace and security

NEW YORK: Kuwait on Wednesday held Israel responsible for the recent flare-up of violence in the Palestinian territories, especially Gaza Strip, and backed Palestinians' right to struggle against the Israeli occupation. "The Israeli occupation authority bears full responsibility for the recent escalation in the occupied territories," Kuwait's Permanent Delegate to the UN Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi said at a special UN Security Council meeting on the situation in Palestinian territories. "As long as this occupation continues, Palestinian people have the right to confront it and defend their aspirations and dreams of independence and a free and dignified life."

He expressed Kuwait's support to the Palestinian people's struggle and admiration of their steadfastness against the Israeli oppressive regime. "Israel's policies and practices in the occupied territories cannot be justified. The occupation itself is a flagrant violation of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, and must end because it is the core and root cause of conflict in the region," Otaibi argued.

He also reiterated Kuwait's condemnation of any attack on civilians. "We would like to emphasize here our principled and firm stance in condemning the targeting of civilians by any party, anywhere and at any time," he laid it bare. He added that it was unacceptable that the international community remained silent in face of violations of international humanitarian law and the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

Otaibi also lamented that the unlawful unilateral measures to Judaize the occupied Jerusalem continued, as had incursions into Al-Aqsa mosque. He reminded that audience that those actions provoked Muslims, as did the blockade of Gaza, which had lasted more than a decade. "In the past few weeks, Israel has used live ammunition against civilian demonstrators who came out to peacefully express themselves and commemorate the Great March of Return. More than 120 people, including children, were killed and thousands wounded, some of them become disabled. We have submitted three statements (the UNSC) to express concerns about the fall of victims and assert their right to protest peacefully and called for an independent and transparent investigation into the massacres, but unfortunately they have all been rejected," he said.

He noted that Kuwait had tabled a draft resolution requiring international protection for Palestinians and had taken many amendments on board. Therefore, he called for transparency and inclusiveness in the negotiations over the draft and hoped it would be adopted by the UNSC soon. He expressed hope that the Council would send a message that it would stand by the side of the Palestinians, he said, welcoming the Human Rights Council's 18 May resolution to send a committee to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially Gaza, to investigate Israel's violations.

Kuwait also hailed the UN support to Iraq to overcome daunting security, economic and humanitarian challenges. "I commend the efforts of the United Nations to provide advice and assistance to the government and the people of Iraq in pursuant to the UN Security Council resolution No. 2367 (2017) through the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and its chief Jan Kubis," Otaibi said at a special UN Security Council meeting on developments in Iraq. He stressed the importance of continuing international support for Iraq in the coming time to address the security, political, economic and humanitarian challenges it faces especially in restoring security, stability and reconstructing the cities liberated from the so-called Islamic State group.

Otaibi shed light on Kuwait's efforts to alleviate the suffering of Iraqi people including the hosting of the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq in mid-February, which succeeded in rallying world support and attracting international donors to the rebuilding of the areas devastated by the war to pave the way for the return of displaced people to their homes. "All these augur well about the future of Iraq and its security and stability, which is an integral part of the security and stability of Kuwait and the whole region," he said.

On issues relating to missing Kuwaitis and third-party nationals and properties, including national records, he expressed disappointment over the lack of progress on those matters, despite efforts made in terms of excavations and further information on possible burial sites. There had been a lack of information on Kuwait's national records, he regretted. He advocated a new approach that involved the technical subcommittee headed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as current efforts had been insufficient to end the 27-year-old suffering of families. He looked forward to further cooperation with Iraq as the countries sought to settle problems and build relationships based on good neighborliness and noninterference in state affairs. - KUNA