Remarks by Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield at the UN Security Council Stakeout Following the Adoption of a Resolution on the Situation in the Middle East

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
December 22, 2023


Good afternoon.

Over the last week, the eyes of the world were on the Security Council. They were on us to offer vision and to offer leadership; to offer a glimmer of hope. And the United States, working with our partners and colleagues, has led this body to do something that speaks not only to the urgency of this moment, but the ability for us to come together when it matters most.

And I want to thank Ambassador Nusseibeh and her team at the UAE for helping get this strong, humanitarian focused and critical resolution over the finish line.

Now, I’ll note that the resolution is not perfect. We were appalled that some Council members still refuse to condemn Hamas’ horrific terrorist attack on October 7th, which set so much heartbreak and suffering in motion. We will continue to push the Council to right this wrong. We also believe the Council must continue to support the resumption of humanitarian pauses. Israel is committed to reaching another agreement – now Hamas must agree to additional pauses. Still, there’s no doubt that today was a massive, positive step.

Of course, there’s so many challenges facing us, all over the world, and all happening at once. And so, we must be able to advance multiple solutions all over the world. And just about all at once. So, while I’m here, I also want to talk about what else the Council accomplished, what else United States leadership and diplomacy accomplished; what we contributed to this week. And that’s a financing resolution, almost a decade in the making, that will help the African Union ensure peace on a continent faced with many, many security threats. A resolution that cements a better vision for African security, putting African leadership at the forefront and African people at the center. This was a massive priority. And it is a big deal. It’s a big deal to have gotten this done at the end of the year.

And I want to express the United States’ gratitude to Ghana and all three African members of the Security Council for helping us put our shared principles to paper.

The resolution adopted today, and the resolution adopted less than 24 hours earlier, are bound by more than just fateful timing. Together they paint a picture of American resolve that no matter how hard diplomacy is, and no matter how cynical others – both inside that room and beyond it may be – we will continue to lead to help alleviate suffering and work toward lasting peace. It’s as simple as that.

This past week, the United States worked with Security Council members to provide a vision, leadership, and a glimmer of hope. And now the real work continues. Because now we must provide results.

We must get more essential humanitarian aid into the hands of innocent Gazans and get hostages in the arms of their loved ones. We must empower African leaders to combat growing threats to security and to protect civilians from the horrors of war. And we must build toward a lasting peace in the Middle East, in Africa, and across the globe.

Finally, as we approach the end of the year, I want to express my profound gratitude to Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana, and the United Arab Emirates for their leadership during their time on the Council. And I want to congratulate my new colleague from Ecuador for his successful presidency for Ecuador this month during the Council.

To all of them, to all of you, Happy Holidays and here’s to the more important work that we will continue to have to do in 2024. And with that, I’ll take a few questions.

QUESTION: Ambassador, thank you very much. Al Jazeera English. What do you say to critics who think that the resolution just passed by the Security Council is still almost disconnected from what the UN body is calling for? Almost 15 minutes after the Council passed their resolution, the Secretary-General once again called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, but the resolution did not. What do you make of this disconnect?

AMBASSADOR LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD: There is no disconnect here. We are all working to address the humanitarian needs on the ground and we’re working to address those needs immediately. That’s what this resolution is about. And it’s about working with the UN and helping the UN to do the critical work that they are doing on the ground.

QUESTION: Just a quick question on the flavor of getting to yes. What were the negotiations like? We waited for days. Do you think diplomacy has worked?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Diplomacy has worked. It was an intense few days of nearly 24-hour a day work. Lots of phone calls, lots of text messages – my fingertips are tender from texting over the course of these few days. And as I always say, diplomacy is hard, but when you get the results, the results are worth every minute of the hard work. And I really do thank the UAE, I thank Egypt, I thank all of the members of the Council for working with us to get this important resolution passed.

Thank you.