China says it supports new UN Security Council draft resolution on Gaza ceasefire


BEIJING: China said on Monday (Mar 25) it supported a new draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council on an "immediate" ceasefire in Gaza, after it and Russia vetoed an earlier text proposed by the United States.

"China supports this draft resolution and commends Algeria and other Arab countries for their hard work in this regard," foreign ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said.

"We hope the Security Council will pass it as soon as possible and send a strong signal for the cessation of hostilities," he said.

The war began with an unprecedented Hamas attack on Oct 7 that resulted in about 1,160 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Israel has vowed to destroy the militants, who also seized about 250 hostages, of whom Israel believes around 130 remain in Gaza, including 33 presumed dead.

The health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on Sunday put the total death toll in the territory at 32,226, most of them women and children.

The Council has been divided over the Israel-Hamas war since the Oct 7 attacks, approving only two of eight resolutions, with both dealing mainly with humanitarian aid to the devastated Gaza Strip.

Permanent Council member and key Israel backer the United States has unequivocally supported Israel's right to defend itself following Hamas's unprecedented attacks.

Last Friday, the Security Council voted on a draft submitted by the United States that called for an "immediate" ceasefire linked to the release of hostages.

China and Russia vetoed the resolution, criticising it for stopping short of explicitly demanding Israel halt its campaign.

The new text, according to the version seen by AFP on Sunday, "demands an immediate ceasefire" for the ongoing Muslim holy month of Ramadan, "leading to a permanent sustainable ceasefire".

It also "demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages as well as the "lifting of all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale".

The text is being put forward by non-permanent members of the Security Council, which worked with the United States over the weekend to avoid a veto, according to diplomats speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity.

Beijing, which is a permanent Council member and holds veto power, said Monday it supported the resolution.

"This draft takes a clear stand in demanding a ceasefire and expanding humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, and thereby accord with the correct orientation of the Security Council's actions," Lin said.

"At present, the conflict in Gaza is dragging on, causing a humanitarian crisis," he said.

"The international community expects the Security Council to practically and comprehensively fulfil its duties," he added.

Source: AFP/rc