Britain abstains on UN vote demanding ceasefire in Gaza

The United Nations Building (Alamy)
The United Nations Building (Alamy) The United Nations Building (Alamy)

Britain chose to abstain on a United Nations resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza that was only blocked by the US.

Thirteen of the 15-member security council voted in favour, but the action was blocked because of Washington’s veto on Friday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had warned of a “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza as he urged the nations to demand Israel stops the war.

Cop28 summit
Cop28 summit Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres (Chris Jackson/PA)

He argued that Gaza is at “a breaking point”, that there is a serious threat of starvation and that there is a risk of “mass displacement into Egypt”.

Arab diplomats made direct appeals for Joe Biden’s administration to drop its opposition, but the US criticised the vote for failing to condemn Hamas’s bloodshed in Israel.

UK ambassador to the UN Dame Barbara Woodward said Britain backs “further and longer pauses” to get aid to Palestinians and to allow the release of Israeli hostages.

But she argued to the council that “we cannot vote in favour of a resolution which does not condemn the atrocities Hamas committed against innocent Israeli civilians” on October 7.

“Calling for a ceasefire ignores the fact that Hamas has committed acts of terror and is still holding civilians hostage,” she added, in explaining why Britain abstained.