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António Guterres Invokes Article 99 of UN Charter, Issuing Urgent Call for Ceasefire in Gaza

Antonio Guterres. Credit: UN Photo/Loey Felipe

In an urgent letter today, directed to the current Ecuadorian chair of the UN Security Council, UN Secretary General António Guterres invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter, to call for the immediate declaration of a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza so that a “catastrophe with potentially irreversible implications for Palestinians as a whole and for peace and security in the region” can be averted. Article 99 of the Charter states that “the Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security,” and Guterres asserts that continuation of the horrific crisis in Gaza may indeed “aggravate existing threats to the maintenance of international peace and security.” It is, he warns, the responsibility of the international community to “use all its influence to prevent further escalation and end this crisis.”

Guterres’ letter is a dramatic call for enforceable action—which can only come from the UN Security Council. To date, any meaningful action by the Security Council has been vetoed by the United States, in support of Israel’s war.

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