Iraq blames 'technical fault' for Gaza ceasefire vote mix-up at UN General Assembly

UN General Assembly has confirmed Iraq’s change in favour of Israel-Gaza truce will be formally reflected in final protocol document, diplomatic sources say

The Iraqi delegation during the UN General Assembly session on Gaza. Getty Images
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Iraq has clarified it supports the UN General Assembly resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, after the final vote tally showed it abstained.

Abbas Kadhim Obaid, temporary chargé d'affaires of the Permanent Mission of Iraq to the UN, said the figures showing an abstention were the result of a "technical fault.

Iraq requests the president to modify its vote on resolution A/ES/10/L.25 in support of the resolution. I repeat the request to change our vote in support of the resolution due to a technical fault in the voting system,” he said.

A UN diplomatic source confirmed to The National that the presidency of the General Assembly had received Iraq’s request and would ensure the final protocol sheet of the session reflected Iraq's actual vote in favour of the resolution.

The assembly approved a non-binding resolution on Friday calling for a “humanitarian truce” in Gaza leading to a cessation of hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, which controls Gaza.

But in the final vote tally, Iraq was listed as one of the 45 countries that abstained from the resolution, despite co-sponsoring it.

Following the vote, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Al Sahhaf said Iraq supported the resolution, despite being listed as having abstained.

“Iraq sponsored the resolution and joined it to confirm its principled and firm position on the Palestinian issue and the right of its people to establish their state with its capital, Jerusalem,” Mr Al Sahhaf said.

“Our vote is in favour of the decision to stop the war against Gaza in the context of an Iraqi national vision.”

However, both Mr Obaid and Mr Al Sahhaf expressed reservations about some of the language used in the resolution’s articles, specifically relating to a two-state solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict.

“We registered our reservations about some of the words contained in the resolution, which oppose our national legislation, including the option of a two-state solution and equality between Palestinian civilians and their enemy,” Mr Al Sahhaf said.

Iraq officially opposes a two-state solution and does not recognise Israel.

Tunisia was the other Arab country that abstained on the resolution.

The 193-member world body adopted the resolution by a vote of 120-14 with 45 abstentions, after rejecting a Canadian amendment backed by the US to unequivocally condemn the “terrorist attacks” by Hamas and demand the immediate release of hostages taken by the militant group.

Hamas pledged to confront Israeli attacks with "full force" after Israel's military widened its air and ground attacks on the Palestinian enclave on Friday night, suggesting that a long-promised ground offensive had begun.

Israel said on troops that went into Gaza on Friday night were still in the field on Saturday morning, without elaborating.

The Israeli military had earlier made only brief raids into Gaza during three weeks of bombardment that Israel says is aimed at destroying Hamas.

About 9,000 people have been killed since October 7, including 1,400 people in Israel and at least 7,000 Palestinians. At least a million people have been displaced in Gaza, which faces a humanitarian crisis as water, food and fuel run low.

Updated: October 28, 2023, 10:38 AM