United Nations General Assembly: Veto Initiative meeting – The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Statement delivered by Permanent Representative, H.E. Ms. Carolyn Schwalger


On the 26th of April 2022, Member States took the landmark decision to adopt by consensus resolution 76/262, titled ‘standing mandate for a General Assembly debate when a veto is cast by the Security Council’.

New Zealand actively supported the Veto Initiative from its inception, and remains a proud proponent of 76/262. The resolution created a mechanism to ensure accountability between UN organs in accordance with the Charter and to ask permanent members of the Security Council that have cast a veto to explain themselves to the wider UN membership.

The veto is the most undemocratic element of the UN. New Zealand has been a vocal opponent of the use of the veto since 1945.

This is the ninth time that resolution 76/262 has been triggered. On previous occasions, ensuing General Assembly debates have demonstrated strong desire for more inclusive multilateralism.

At the outset, New Zealand was pleased that the Council was able to adopt last month another humanitarian resolution on this pressing crisis.

We meet today because the veto was deployed against an oral amendment to that resolution.

It was disappointing that a last minute proposal that the authors knew would not achieve consensus detracted from weeks of intense negotiations to achieve a text acceptable to all. It is hard to view this as anything other than cynical political manoeuvring that was intended to undermine efforts to achieve a unified international response.

However, any use of the veto is highly disappointing. Once again, we underline that every time this outdated and undemocratic mechanism is used, it erodes the Council’s credibility and undermines its ability to fulfil its mandate to maintain international peace and security.


New Zealand is gravely concerned about the impact of this conflict on civilians. The loss of life and level of suffering in Gaza is utterly devastating. 

New Zealand condemns absolutely Hamas’ terrorist attacks on Israel. These are clear violations of international law. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.

New Zealand recognises Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas’s terrorist attacks. But in defending itself, Israel must respect international humanitarian law. Civilians and civilian infrastructure must be protected. We are alarmed at the near absence of safe spaces for civilians in Gaza.

The delivery of humanitarian assistance remains a crucial priority. We urge the immediate implementation of resolutions 2712 and 2720 to enable unhindered and sustained assistance and protection, in line with humanitarian principles, to those who desperately need it.

We continue to urge all parties involved in the conflict, as well as countries with influence in the region, to take urgent steps towards establishing a sustainable ceasefire. Ultimately, no military solution will bring about a just and lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians.

As the Secretary-General has said, “Too many lives – and the fate of the entire region – hang in the balance”.

If resolution 76/262 is re-activated in the future, it will once again be incumbent on members of the General Assembly to continue to exercise our collective political responsibility under the UN Charter to address matters of international peace and security.

Thank you.


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