UNSC fails once again to reach consensus on Gaza draft text


United Nations : The UN Security Council, once again and after four days of deliberations, failed to reach agreement on a draft presidential statement that would deal with the humanitarian situation in Gaza, with Libya this time asking for more time to seek instructions from Tripoli.

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The new version of the draft circulated late Friday was approved by the other 14 council members, including the US which asked for more time Thursday to seek instructions from Washington.

Libyan envoy and council President Giadallah Ettalhi told reporters after several hours of council consultations “today there were amendments introduced to the text. For Libya, they are major changes and modifications. Therefore we have to go back to Tripoli to seek instructions.” He expects an answer on Monday.

He said that for the Arab group, the new draft text is “unbalanced.” British envoy John Sawers told reporters “the delegation of Libya decided to refer it back to the Arab group. And they’ve in turn referred it back to capitals. I think we could actually have issued a statement this evening.” The council would express in the new draft its “deep concern” about the humanitarian situation in Gaza and southern Israel. It would call upon Israel to facilitate safe and secure access for humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people.

It would take note of Israel’s decision to suspend the closure of the crossing points and calls for its full implementation.

Syrian envoy Bashar Al-Jaafari objected to this paragraph saying this in not true quoting UNRWA officials who denied such information.
He said the original Arab draft that dealt solely with the humanitarian situation in Gaza has been politicized, hence the need to send it to capitals to seek instructions.

“In light of the new language (in the new draft statement) which is obviously unacceptable to the Arab delegations, we decided to refer it to the capitals because it has become a political language by excellence, which is trying to justify what the Israelis are doing in Gaza,” he told reporters.

Asked what happened to the Arab decision to present a draft resolution if there was no agreement on the draft statement, he said “let’s go step by step.” The new draft would also condemn the daily “terrorist” rocket and mortar attacks against Israeli civilians and call for their immediate cessation.

The previous version said the council would condemn the “terrorist groups” which launch these rockets from Gaza into southern Israel. It was rejected by the Arab group.

The council would also call on “all parties to immediately cease all acts of violence and activities which are contrary to international law and recalls the need to ensure full respect for all obligations under international law, including humanitarian and human rights law,” in an indirect reference to Israel.

US Deputy Permanent Representative Alejandro Wolff told reporters in answer to a question that “it’s hard to imagine there will be any changes to this text once the council discusses again on Monday.”