US kills Gaza effort in UN Security Council

The United States once again blocked approval of a U.N. Security Council statement calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza late Saturday after Israel launched a ground invasion, diplomats said.

US kills Gaza effort in UN Security Council
French U.N. Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert, currently Security Council president, told reporters after a closed-door session there was no agreement, but there (were) "serious convergences to express serious concern" about the crisis.

The "convergences" of opinions among council members included the need for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and easing the humanitarian crisis Gazans are in, Ripert said.

Libya had circulated a draft statement "expressing serious concern at the escalation of the situation in Gaza, in particular, after the launching of the Israeli ground offensive and urged all parties to observe an immediate ceasefire."

But diplomats said the United States did not back the Libyan-drafted text and killed the initiative, since council statements must be passed unanimously. Later the United States again rejected to back a watered-down call for a truce, the diplomats said.

"Law of the jungle"

Israel launched the ground offensive in the Gaza Strip on Saturday by sending tanks and infantry.

The strip is home to 1.5 million Palestinians.

Riyad Mansour, the permanent Palestinian observer to the United Nations, said it was the council's responsibility to demand that Israel "stop this aggression immediately."

"Israel cannot continue to behave as a state above international law -- this is the law of the jungle," he said.

The United States has tried to keep Israeli occupation off the agenda whenever possible.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate end to Israel's ground operation in Gaza. Speaking by telephone with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Ban conveyed his "extreme concern and disappointment," his press office said in a statement.

At least 453 Palestinians have been killed. Four Israelis have been killed.


Agencies
Last Mod: 04 Ocak 2009, 12:37
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