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US vetoes UNSC resolution against Israel

12 November, 2006

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UNITED NATIONS: The United States vetoed on Saturday a UN Security Council draft resolution that sought to condemn an Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip and demand that Israeli troops pull out of the territory.

US Ambassador John Bolton said the United States was disturbed that the Arab-backed draft resolution was “biased against Israel and politically motivated”. “This resolution does not display an even-handed characterisation of the recent events in Gaza, nor does it advance the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace to which we aspire and for which we are working assiduously,” he told the Security Council.

It was the second US veto of a Security Council draft resolution concerning Israeli military operations in Gaza this year. The US blocked action on a document this summer after Israel launched its offensive in response to the capture of an Israeli soldier by Hamas-linked Palestinian militants.

The draft received 10 votes in favour and four abstentions, along with the US vote against. Britain, Denmark, Japan and Slovakia all abstained.

Danish Ambassador Ellen Margrethe Loj said her country abstained because the draft did not include “a more thorough recognition of the complexities on the ground.”

The draft text, introduced by Qatar, had been weakened slightly in recent days to help improve its chances of passage. A section was added demanding the Palestinian Authority take immediate action to bring an end to violence, including the firing of rockets into Israel from its territories.

It also called for the UN secretary-general to establish a fact-finding mission” to probe Wednesday’s attack in Gaza that killed 19 people, a step below ordering a full investigation.

In addition, it backed off calls for UN observers to be placed on the Gaza-Israel border, asking instead for the “possible establishment of an international mechanism for protection of the civilian populations.”


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