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.
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.