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Security Council ‘perhaps fatally’ undermined by Gaza, Ukraine deadlock, says UN chief

UNITED Nations chief Antonio Guterres deplored the U.N. Security Council’s deadlock over the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying divisions among its members had “perhaps fatally” undermined its authority.

Speaking at the opening of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Guterres said the U.N. Security Council often found itself “unable to act on the most significant peace and security issues of our time”.

“The Council’s lack of unity on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and on Israel’s military operations in Gaza following the horrific terror attacks by Hamas on 7 October, has severely – perhaps fatally – undermined its authority,” he said.

“The Council needs serious reform to its composition and working methods,” he said, without elaborating.


The United States last week again vetoed a draft U.N. Security Council resolution blocking a demand for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Israel’s offensive against Gaza.

It was the third U.S. veto since the start of the conflict on Oct. 7 of a draft resolution by the council, which consists of 10 elected members and five permanent ones – China, the United States, France, the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation.

Asked if the Security Council could eventually be considered brain dead, Guterres told reporters: “If the Security Council one day shows that it is incapable of doing anything, then it will be very close to this medical condition.”

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An estimated 1.5 million Gazans are crammed in tents and other makeshift shelters in the town of Rafah on the border with Egypt, most of them having fled their homes further north to escape Israel’s offensive.

Guterres, who described Rafah as the core of the humanitarian aid operation in the Palestinian enclave, said a full-scale Israeli assault there would have devastating consequences.

“An all-out Israeli offensive on the city would not only be terrifying for more than a million Palestinian civilians sheltering there; it would put the final nail in the coffin of our aid programmes.”

The flow of aid entering Gaza from Egypt has dwindled, and a collapse in security has made it increasingly difficult to distribute the food that does get through, according to U.N. data and officials.

Washington says a truce and hostage release deal that would also allow more aid into Gaza is now close.