We thank the President for convening this timely meeting. Norway is grateful to UN organizations and agencies for their important briefings provided to the membership last Friday, and not the least for their heroic work to deliver in an extremely challenging environment. Their messages are duly heard and received.
Allow me first to express our heartfelt condolences for the death of more than 100 United Nations humanitarian staff in Gaza.
We condemn the attacks on humanitarian workers and pay tribute to the heroic efforts of Palestinian humanitarian and health workers, who are saving lives and alleviating suffering under extreme circumstances.
Norway remains extremely concerned about the situation in Gaza. We have been clear about Israel’s right to self-defense, but has underlined that such measures must be within the limits of international law. Based on the enormous human suffering and devastation we are now seeing, the military operations in Gaza have gone too far.
The lack of food, electricity, water, medicines, and health care is a disaster for the people of Gaza, including for almost one million children. The death toll is unbearable. We deplore the continued denial of humanitarian aid to Gaza, and call for sufficient, safe, rapid, and unhindered humanitarian access, immediately.
For humanitarian assistance at scale, it is necessary to open additional border crossings such as Kerem Shalom. Water and electricity supply must be turned back on, and fuel allowed in.
We welcome the adoption of resolution 2712 by the UN Security Council last week. It must be implemented by all parties.
Furthermore, as a follow-up on the resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on 27 October, which Norway voted in favor of, Foreign Minister Barth Eide has stayed in close contact with his counterparts in the region and beyond to discuss the need to improve the humanitarian situation, where Norway sees the urgent need for an immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian ceasefire, to securing humanitarian access to Gaza.
We must increase our efforts to contribute to de-escalation and the prevention of regional spillovers. The ongoing war in Gaza has shown that sustained regional stability cannot be achieved without addressing the Palestinian question. We must intensify diplomatic efforts to realize the two-state solution based on pre-67 borders.
In a time of rearmament and rising global tensions, ensuring adherence to international law is more urgent than ever. We must act to preserve and strengthen existing instruments that prohibit and regulate the use of weapons that cause the most humanitarian harm.
Let me take this opportunity to highlight the importance of the Political Declaration on Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas. When explosive weapons are used indiscriminately in populated areas and civilians reportedly account for almost 90% of casualties, this declaration is, sadly, more relevant than ever.
President, to conclude: Our immediate priority must be to save lives. Humanitarian access to Gaza must be dramatically improved and sustained. Norway fully endorses the UN humanitarian relief coordinator Martin Griffith’s 10-point plan.