Egypt FM slams international order failure at G20 meeting in Brazil

Ahram Online , Thursday 22 Feb 2024

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry examined the shortcomings of the international order, including the failure to uphold its principles and norms, as international and humanitarian laws are being violated in Gaza, the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry participates in the G20 Ministers of Foreign Affairs Meeting in the Brazilian capital, Rio de Janeiro, 22 February 2024. Photo: Egyptian Foreign Ministry


Shoukry's remarks came during his participation in a session entitled “The G20’s Role in Dealing with Ongoing International Tensions” on the sidelines of the G20 Ministers of Foreign Affairs Meeting in the Brazilian capital, Rio de Janeiro, according to the Ministry's official spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid.

During his speech, Egypt's top diplomat pointed to two key failures of the international system: the violation of international law and principles, and the lack of a unified international community response.

He emphasized the unprecedented crisis the international order is facing, especially the war in Gaza, which resulted in over 29,000 deaths, two-thirds of whom are women and children, shelled hospitals, razed universities and schools, and destroyed places of worship, including mosques and churches. 

Shoukry added that the second failure of the international system is that it didn't preserve the idea of ​​an international community, where empathy and shared values ​​of solidarity would supersede exclusion, fear, revenge and racism.

He indicated that a complete siege has been imposed by Israel on over 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, and they were left to starve or forced to flee from one place to another, only to find no safe shelter, stressing that the international order failed due to the complete ineffectiveness of its peace and security mechanisms to put an end to this war.

He expressed concern about the lack of widespread calls for a ceasefire by many countries and the censorship practiced on media, and the framing of Palestinian losses as "deaths" rather than "killings," which "leads us to question whether all lives matter equally to all of us," he noted. 

He also criticized the continued vetoes within the UN Security Council obstructing an immediate end to the war.

"Despite that the current war on Gaza has been considered, proportionally, the deadliest and the most destructive in contemporary military history, the world has witnessed a continued insistence in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to obstruct calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities," Shoukry stressed.

In addition, Egypt's FM wondered for how long such calls would have to endure a veto within the UNSC, expressing his hope that everyone would recognise that this crisis didn't begin on 7 October, but has long been worsening because of the denial of the rights of the Palestinian people and the pain inflicted upon them through unilateral measures.

On Tuesday, the US vetoed an Arab-backed UN resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Israeli war in the war-torn Gaza Strip. Consequently, on Wednesday, Cairo reiterated its call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, following the US' third veto since the outbreak of the crisis.

Shoukry reiterated his warnings about the international order's polarization and urged the G20 to take concrete action.

He reiterated Egypt's stance on the Ukrainian crisis, emphasizing the imperative of upholding international law and the UN Charter.

He urged the G20 members to put an end to the current polarisation, calling on them to endeavour for an honest and consistent observance of international law, international humanitarian law and relevant UN resolutions, in addition to working towards an immediate and sustained cessation of hostilities in Gaza and unhindered access for humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people. 

He also stressed the importance of ensuring that Israel refrains from any military action in Rafah that would include transferring or displacing the Palestinians.

It is not possible to wait for another aggression to take place in Rafah, and for the war on Gaza to continue, leading to more deaths, suffering and destruction,, Shoukry declared, emphasizing the urgent need to "end the war now."

For nearly five months, Israel's deadly war on Gaza has killed 29,410 people, wounded 69,465 people, and displaced around 2 million Palestinians.

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