Statement by Minister of State in Charge of Cooperation, Eugene-Richard Gasana at the UN Security Council Open Debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestine Question

I thank Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon for his briefing on the situation in the Middle-East, especially on the conflict related to Gaza. I take this opportunity to thank Robert Serry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, for his briefing on the situation in the Middle-East, especially on the conflict related to Gaza. I take this opportunity to appreciate his invaluable efforts in taking forward the Middle East peace process. I also thank Ambassador Ryad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the Observer State of Palestine, and Ambassador Ron Prosor, Permanent Representative of Israel, for their respective statements.

The current trend in the security situation in the Middle-East, from Gaza to Iraq, through Syria and Yemen, is concerning. The level of human loss and destruction in the region, as a result of recurring violence, is unspeakable. In just two weeks of the crisis in Gaza, more than 600 lives have been lost; more than 3,700 people have been wounded, in addition to over 100,000 people who are displaced. In this regard, we strongly condemn indiscriminate rocket fire by Hamas into Israel and call for an immediate end to these attacks.We recognize the right of Israel to self-defense, as no country on earth would accept daily rocket attacks on its cities and its people. Nonetheless, we are deeply disturbed by the level of civilian victims of this war, including an increasing number of children, as demonstrated by the recent fighting in Shejaiya. We call on the protection of civilians and for the respect of the international humanitarian and human rights law.

But above all, parties to this conflict must heed to the call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, based on a return to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement, as expressed last Sunday by this Council. Rwanda further supports the proposed ceasefire, to be brokered by Egypt, which would give a chance for a long-term political and economic solution for Gaza. We further believe that the proposal expressed in this Council to establish a viable verification and monitoring mission, which would ensure the implementation of any ceasefire agreement, should be supported by the concerned parties and stakeholders.

There is no doubt that our collective failure to advance a political solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will continue leading to cyclical violence in the Middle-East. We welcome the visit of the Secretary General and the US Secretary of State to the region, who emphasized the need for an immediate ceasefire, but also the importance of taking concrete action in addressing the underlying causes of this crisis. Indeed, only a political solution, based on a two-state solution for two peoples, living side by side in peace and security, will provide a sustainable settlement to this six-decade conflict.

Dear colleagues,

For the last three years now, the conflict in Syria has been destroying a people, with massive violation of human rights and a worsening humanitarian situation. Over 150,000 people have died and more than 10 million are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. It is the responsibility of the Syrian parties, supported by those countries that have influence on them, to end this war. In this regard, Rwanda welcomes the appointment of a new UN Special Envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, and we are convinced that he will use his experience to jumpstart the Geneva II peace process, with the support of all stakeholders.

Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation has continued to deteriorate in Syria, mainly due to the continued hostilities, but also to the failure of parties to implement resolution 2139 (2014). Rwanda welcomed the unanimous adoption of resolution 2165, which authorized UN humanitarian agencies to use four (4) additional border crossings, and we hope that this new resolution will enable humanitarian actors to assist up to two (2) million hard-to-reach people. However, Rwanda believes that this Council should be vigilant and be fully prepared to take concrete measures, under the UN Charter, in the event of non-compliance with both humanitarian resolutions in Syria.

On a more positive note, Rwanda commends Ms. Sigrid Kaag, Special Coordinator of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission, together with her team, for their tremendous achievements in the elimination and destruction of all declared chemical weapons by the Syrian Government, as requested by resolution 2118 (2013). Hoping that no more chemical materials were left behind, we cannot forget, however, that last August, hundreds of innocent people, including women and children, lost their life, following horrendous suffering. Now, more than ever, the perpetrators must be held accountable.

In conclusion, Rwanda expresses its firm belief that only an inclusive, moderate and responsible approach will restore stability in the Middle East and achieve permanent peace in the region. It is therefore our collective responsibility to support the Secretary General and other stakeholders, in their tireless efforts in working for a peaceful resolution of conflicts throughout the Middle-East.

I thank you.




Explanation of Vote by Minister of State in Charge of Cooperation, Eugene Richard Gasana, on the adoption of Resolution 2166 on the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17

First of all, I would like to thank Australia for introducing this resolution on the shooting down of Malaysia Flight MH17 and would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the presence amongst us of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, the Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of Luxembourg and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

This incident, no doubt, has shocked the world and touched all of us, in particular the families and the nations grieving for their loved ones. I take this opportunity to once again offer My President and the People of Rwanda’s deepest sympathies and condolences to the families, the people and government of the 298 victims.

Rwanda cosponsored and voted in favor of this resolution primarily because, as a matter of principle, the deceased and their families must be accorded the utmost respect and dignity they deserve. We also believe that it is important that facts surrounding the downing of this plane are established and that the perpetrators of this heinous crime are identified and brought to justice. We were extremely troubled that separatist groups in eastern Ukraine have been obstructing and denying access to the crash site, not to mention removing bodies and material elements necessary for the investigation. We condemn this behavior in the strongest terms.

I may recall that resolution 2166 we just adopted supports efforts to establish a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines. The resolution further demands that the armed groups in control of the crash site and the surrounding area refrain from any actions that may compromise the integrity of the crash site. In this regard, we urge the separatists to fully implement, without excuses or preconditions, their commitment made on 17 July, in a video conference with the Trilateral Contact Group.

Finally, Rwanda reiterates its call to the separatist groups in eastern Ukraine to respect the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine; to adhere to a sustainable ceasefire, as requested by the 2nd July Joint Declaration by the Foreign Ministers of Ukraine, the Russian Federation, France and Germany; and to engage in a political dialogue with the Ukrainian Government, based on President Poroshenko’s Peace Plan.

I thank you.




Statement by Minister Gasana at the UN Security Council briefing on the situation in the Middle East

I wish to thank the Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman for his briefing on the current crisis in the Middle East, especially the situation in Gaza. I also thank Ambassador Ryad MANSOUR, Permanent Observer of the Observer State of Palestine, and Ambassador Ron Prosor, Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN, for their respective briefings.

Since the beginning of this month, the Security Council issued three (3) press statements on the situation in the region, starting by the condemnation of the kidnapping and killing of the three Israeli teenagers, as well as the Palestinian teenager. Last Thursday, the Security Council convened an emergency meeting to discuss this tragedy, which was followed by the third press statement of the month on the situation in Israel-Palestine, issued on Saturday. In this statement, Council members called for de-escalation of the situation, restoration of calm, reinstitution of the November 2012 ceasefire and respect for international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians. 

Unfortunately, the situation today in Gaza shows that parties on the ground did not heed to this call. Hostilities have further escalated, which led to dire humanitarian consequences. This conflict has now claimed over 260 lives and left over 48,000 displaced. We welcomed the short humanitarian pause in Gaza, which had allowed the UN and partners to deliver humanitarian assistance to thousands of people who are in dire need. We call on more humanitarian pauses to allow more deliveries to flow without hindrance.  

We express our strong support to the ceasefire agreement that was brokered by Egypt, as it did in November 2012. We note that this proposal was accepted by Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the League of Arab States, but rejected by Hamas.  We call upon Hamas to immediately cease fire and stop its indiscriminate rocket fire into Israel. We further call on Israel to exercise maximum restraint, and ensure that the civilians in Gaza are protected.

To conclude, let me reaffirm that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the longest conflict at the agenda of the Security Council, will only end with the creation of a viable Palestinian State, living side by side in peace and security with a secured State of Israel. In this regard, we call on the Quartet, countries of the Region, the United States and other countries with influence to the parties to redouble their efforts in order to reaching a political settlement, and help Palestinians and Israelis fulfilling their legitimate aspirations for peace, security and prosperity.

I thank you

Statement by Minister Gasana at the UN Security Council briefing on the situation in Ukraine

I thank Jeffrey Feltman, Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, for his availability and for his detailed briefing, despite a short notice. Allow me first of all to express my deep sorrow over the loss of 298 lives, including 80 children, killed in the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 that was shot down in Eastern Ukraine. On behalf of the Government of Rwanda, I present my deepest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones, as well as to the people and the Government of the victims. The loss of those innocent civilians is beyond comprehension. Their lives were caught in the middle of a crisis that this very Council was unable to take action on, since it started in February this year.

But now, with the shooting down of a commercial airplane carrying civilians, the Ukrainian crisis in no longer a conflict between the Ukrainian military and armed separatists. This conflict has crossed a red line by endangering all of our lives, as it did for the men, women and children from different countries, who took place in the MH17. We condemn, in the strongest terms, this terrorist act and we call for a comprehensive, independent and international investigation, in accordance with international guidelines as agreed upon in the press statement adopted this month. This investigation should establish the responsibilities, so that the perpetrators can be held accountable. In this context, we further urge all parties to cease fire, to fully cooperate with the investigation and to grant unhindered access to the crash site, in order to allow international investigators to carry out their work.

We note that the criminal act of yesterday follows the shooting down of a Ukrainian jet fight on Wednesday and that of a military cargo on Monday. The frequent use of missiles on aircrafts in the past few months pose the question of access to anti-aircraft missiles, now capable of downing a civilian airplane flying over more than 30,000 feet. Therefore, the Security Council and the larger international community can no longer afford to turn a blind eye on this matter.

It is unfortunate that this tragic event came at a time where national and regional efforts were underway to finding a political and diplomatic solution to the Ukrainian crisis. This act undermines valuable initiatives of the Trilateral Contact Group of senior representatives of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the OSCE, who were making all necessary efforts for a resumption of consultations with separatists in eastern of Ukraine. On Tuesday, the Group had even reconfirmed its support to President Petro Poroshenko’s Peace Plan, as well as to the commitments for sustainable ceasefire, stated in the Joint Declaration in Berlin on 2 July 2014 of Foreign Affairs Ministers of Germany, France, the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

To conclude, let me renew our call to the armed groups to respect the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. They must lay down their weapons and engage in constructive dialogue with the Ukrainian Government. In the same vein, we encourage all parties to adhere to the ceasefire and support the ongoing efforts to de-escalate the crisis and bring peace to the region. The shooting down of a civilian plane, over the conflict in eastern Ukraine, is a stark reminder of the moral responsibility of the Security Council to put aside its division on this crisis, to hold perpetrators of terrorist acts to account and to uphold its mandate of maintenance of international peace and security.

I thank you.  

Press statement on the Malaysian plane crash

 The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims, and to the people and Governments of all those killed in the crash in Eastern Ukraine on 17 July of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

The members of the Security Council called for a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident in accordance with the international civil aviation guidelines and for appropriate accountability.

 The members of the Security Council further stressed the need for all parties to grant immediate access by investigators to the crash site to determine the cause of the incident