Wednesday May 22, 2024

Stubb clarifies abstention on UN resolution

Finland against Israeli operation in Rafah

Andersson terms abstention wrong decision

Published : 11 May 2024, 03:04

Updated : 11 May 2024, 12:50

  DF Report
An injured child is treated at a hospital in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, on May 8, 2024. Photo: Xinhua.

President Alexander Stubb and Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen on Friday expressed their opposition over the Israeli plan to launch a large-scale ground operation in Rafah and renewed call for ceasefire in Gaza.

The President in a post in his social media platform X, also clarified Finland´s abstention on the resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly supporting the Palestinian bid to become a full UN member.

The resolution was adopted with 143 votes in favor and nine against, including the United States and Israel, while 25 countries abstained.

“Today (Friday) the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on strengthening Palestine’s observer status to the United Nations. The resolution also recommended Palestine’s full UN membership. However, this vote was not about making Palestine a full UN member. The admission of new members requires a recommendation of the Security Council, which has not been issued,” Stubb wrote in his post.

He said that Finland abstained in the vote in line with the decision of the President and the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy, adding that a number of other EU Member States, including Sweden, also abstained.

“Finland strives to advance the two-state solution and an independent, internationally recognized Palestinian state as a full member of the United Nations. When realized, it is of utmost importance that the membership does not remain merely symbolic, but comes as a step of a broad-based, jointly agreed upon plan that produces concrete improvements to the situation of the Palestinians and the security of the whole region. Regrettably, we are not there yet,” he said.

The President said that now, the most urgent issues are deliveries of humanitarian aid, release of the hostages and a ceasefire.

“A large scale ground operation in Rafah would have disastrous consequences. It must not happen. Israel has the obligation to protect civilians,” he added.

Opposition Vasemmistoliitto (Left Alliance) Chairperson Li Andersson, however, termed Finland´s abstention as a wrong decision.

“Finland abstained from voting on the UN resolution again with a wrong group. Norway, Denmark and Iceland voted in favour,” she wrote in a post on her social media platform X on Friday.

Meanwhile the Foreign Minister in a post in her social media platform X called for a ceasefire in Gaza.

“I am again calling upon the Israeli government not to launch a large scale ground operation in Rafah. Israel has every right to defend herself against Hamas but not at the cost of innocent civilian lives in Gaza,” Valtonen wrote.