The Malta Independent 21 May 2024, Tuesday
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Parties in Gaza conflict need to respect and implement UN resolutions – Ian Borg

Sunday, 21 April 2024, 07:30 Last update: about 30 days ago

Kevin Schembri Orland reporting from the United Nations in New York City

The parties subject to the United Nations Security Council resolutions that were adopted since 7 October relating to the Gaza war need to respect and implement those resolutions, Foreign Affairs Minister Ian Borg told The Malta Independent on Sunday.

The UN Security Council is the highest international institution, he said, adding that its resolutions are binding.

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“I am speaking about the immediate and permanent stop to the fighting, that humanitarian aid reaches the people and the call for restraint and de-escalation from other actors in the region."

Both the Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres and Borg have said that the Middle East is on the precipice. Both have called for the need to de-escalate tensions.

Speaking to The Malta Independent on Sunday in New York, where he chaired UN Security Council sessions, Borg said that Malta was a protagonist in three of the aforementioned resolutions, either in terms of proposing or coordinating them.

"How can this realistically be done? We are doing our part by speaking to all parties. As the President of the Security Council, I couldn't not accept the request by the Foreign Affairs Minister of Iran to also deliver his message and I took the opportunity to deliver our message on what they did to Israel. Obviously, there is reference to what Israel allegedly did in Damascus, and so it keeps on going with one responding to the other, which will definitely not lead to peace and will not lead to a two-state solution. We cannot give up and say that this is not possible."

On 7 October last year, Hamas militants attacked Israel, killing over 1,000 people and taking hostages. This action sparked retaliation by Israel. Israel has bombed Gaza and sent troops in. Thus far, the death toll has reached over 30,000. The war threatens to destabilise the region ever further.

Malta is one of the countries that has been advocating for a two-state solution, but given the situation in Gaza questions have been raised as to how achievable such a goal is. Asked what it would take for the two sides to come together, the minister said it is clear that the parties are very far apart right now.

"That is why we continue to urge the Palestinian Authority to continue strengthening and reforming its authorities so that it can have political control over the areas that are part of the 1967 frontiers, so that we could move towards more recognition and as such arrive at a two-state solution."

Another situation has been developing in the Middle East. Iran launched hundreds of drones, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles in an unprecedented revenge mission on Israel, in response to what it says was an Israeli strike on Iran’s consulate in Syria a few weeks ago. Israel said the launches numbered more than 300 but 99% of them were intercepted. Reuters reported that Tehran's Mission to the UN had said that if the UN Security Council had condemned the aggression on its diplomatic premises in Damascus, the imperative for Iran to retaliate might have been prevented.

"The Iranian representative repeated that during the UN Security Council meeting held earlier this week. Iran and everyone knows the UN Security Council regulations, but Malta did not fail as President of the Council to make its condemnations. The fact that you have regulations requiring that everyone agrees, or rather that five countries can block a statement from being issued by the Council, is what it is. Those are the regulations. But Malta, as President of the Security Council, issued its condemnation when the attack in Damascus had taken place.”

On a separate issue, the Maltese government declared itself against raising spending on weapons by the European Union, but at the same time there is a war ongoing on the EU's border. The argument has been made that defence spending should be ramped up to act as a deterrent.

"Just as the UN Security Council has its regulations, so does the EU. Malta always made its position clear. One has to appreciate that the 26 other member states, as well as the institutions, respect Malta's position. The 26 other states take the decisions they feel they want in this regard, possibly investing more in defence. This changes nothing from the Maltese government's commitment to ensure that the Maltese Constitution be respected.”

 

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