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Lula brings spotlight onto Gaza crisis during Celac speech — MercoPress

Lula brings spotlight onto Gaza crisis during Celac speech

Saturday, March 2nd 2024 – 10:44 UTC

Lula spoke of a “carnage” in the Middle East
Lula spoke of a “carnage” in the Middle East

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva Friday brought before the United Nations a proposal from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) to end “the genocide” in the Gaza Strip. During his speech at the 8th Celac Summit in Kingstown (St Vincent and the Grenadines), the South American leader also referred to the situation in the Middle East as a “carnage.”

“The humanitarian tragedy in Gaza requires from all of us the ability to say enough is enough to the collective punishment that the Israeli government is imposing on the Palestinian people. People are dying in the queue for food. The indifference of the international community is shocking. I want to take advantage of the presence of the UN Secretary-General, my comrade António Guterres, to propose a motion from Celac for an immediate end to this genocide,” said Lula.

Lula suggested Guterres invoke Article 99 of the UN Charter, which gives him the power to draw the attention of the UN Security Council to any matter that could threaten international peace and security. The President also called on China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, to put aside their differences and “put an end to this killing spree.”

The South American leader also urged Japan, who took over the rotating presidency of the Security Council on Friday, to “take up the issue urgently” and put an end to the “carnage” taking place in the Middle East. “There have already been more than 30,000 deaths. The lives of thousands of innocent women and children are at stake. The lives of Hamas hostages are also at stake. I want to end by telling you that our dignity and humanity are at stake. That’s why we need to stop the carnage in the name of the survival of humanity, which needs a lot of humanism.”

Bolivian President Luis Arce Catacora joined Lula’s call for an immediate ceasefire. “The planet wants peace, wants tranquility and that is what we have to seek and take all necessary actions to pacify that part of the world,” he said. He added that a solution to the crisis must allow Palestine “the exercise of the right to self-determination.”

Guterres, who attended the Summit was “appalled by the tragic human toll of the conflict in Gaza, in which more than 30,000 people have now reportedly been killed and over 70,000 injured,” according to a statement from his spokesperson. “Tragically, an unknown number of people lie under rubble,” the document added.

“The Secretary-General condemns the incident today in northern Gaza in which more than 100 people were reportedly killed or injured while seeking life-saving aid. The desperate civilians in Gaza need urgent help, including those in the besieged north where the United Nations has not been able to deliver aid in more than a week,” it also noted.

“The Secretary-General reiterates his call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the unconditional release of all hostages. He once again calls for urgent steps so that critical humanitarian aid can get into and across Gaza to all those in need,” the communiqué underlined.

Also Friday, Honduras took over from St Vincent and the Grenadines the pro-tempore presidency of Celac. In accepting her role, Honduran President Xiomara Castro said that “we must ratify our commitment that never a people of Latin America and the Caribbean will use violence against a brother country.” The problems and differences between countries of this bloc “must be resolved among ourselves, without interference or external pressures, with dialogue as a tool and always thinking of the regional welfare and self-determination of the peoples,” she went on.

Created in 2010, Celac is a regional mechanism for dialogue and political coordination that brings together exclusively the 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries.

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