Antony Blinken
Antony BlinkenREUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Pool

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered a statement explaining the Biden Administration's decision to abstain on, rather than veto, a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza during Ramadan today (Monday).

Blinken stated, "Today, the United States abstained on UN Security Council resolution 2728. This abstention, which comes on the heels of the Russian and Chinese veto of our comprehensive draft resolution in the Council, reaffirms the U.S. position that a ceasefire of any duration come as part of an agreement to release hostages in Gaza. While we do not agree with all provisions included in this text, adjustments made by the resolution’s sponsors over recent days are consistent with our principled position that any ceasefire text must be paired with text on the release of the hostages. This resolution further explicitly recognizes the painstaking, non-stop negotiations being conducted by the Governments of Egypt, Israel, Qatar, and the United States to achieve such a release in the context of a ceasefire, which would also create space to surge more lifesaving humanitarian assistance for Palestinian civilians, and to build something more enduring."

"Because the final text does not have key language we view as essential, notably a condemnation of Hamas, we could not support it. This failure to condemn Hamas is particularly difficult to understand coming days after the world once again witnessed the horrific acts terrorist groups commit," Blinken explained.

"We reiterate the need to accelerate and sustain the provision of humanitarian assistance through all available routes – land, sea, and air. We continue to discuss with partners a pathway to the establishment of a Palestinian state with real security guarantees for Israel to establish long-term peace and security.

"As reflected in my most recent travels to the region, we have been working very closely with our Arab partners to realize these important outcomes. We have also been working with Israel to ensure October 7 can never be repeated, its security needs are met, and it is further integrated into a more secure and prosperous region. There is consensus on these priorities – a ceasefire, the release of hostages, a surge in humanitarian assistance, and a clear pathway planned for the future. And importantly, there is a growing consensus on the steps needed to achieve these priorities. We will continue our close collaboration with our regional partners to achieve these shared objectives."

While the resolution passed by the Security Council does contain a call for the immediate release of all hostages held by Hamas, it does not connect its call for a ceasefire with the issue of the hostages or condition any ceasefire on the release of the hostages.