UN Security Council vote on Gaza resolution pushed back to Friday

Diplomatic discussions at UN headquarters continue as conditions deteriorate in Gaza

The Security Council was originally supposed to vote on the UAE-drafted resolution on Monday. AFP
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The UN Security Council on Thursday again delayed a vote on a resolution calling for a halt in fighting between Israel and Hamas after earlier efforts to win US backing fell short.

Diplomatic discussions at UN headquarters in New York, which have delayed the vote several times this week, continue as conditions deteriorate in Gaza.

Gaza health authorities announced that the death toll in the enclave has climbed to at least 20,000.

“The Security Council has agreed to continue negotiations today to allow for additional time for diplomacy,” said Jose Javier De la Gasca Lopez Dominguez, the UN ambassador from Ecuador, which holds the council's rotating presidency this month.

Lana Nusseibeh, the UAE’s ambassador to the UN, said: “Very high-level discussions … are happening between capitals to try and reach a text that will, in fact, be adopted."

The Security Council was originally scheduled to vote on the UAE-drafted resolution on Monday, but this was delayed as it became clear it faced a US veto.

After last-minute negotiations, US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the US could support the latest version of the resolution.

“We have worked hard and diligently over the course of the past week with the Emiratis, with others, with Egypt to come up with a resolution that we can support, and we do have that resolution now,” she said.

“It's a resolution that will bring humanitarian assistance to those in need. The draft resolution is not watered down. The draft resolution is a very strong resolution that is fully supported by the Arab group, that provides them what they feel is needed to get humanitarian assistance on the ground.”

An earlier draft of the UAE resolution called for the urgent suspension of hostilities to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access to Gaza and for urgent steps towards a sustainable cessation of fighting.

“We’re still actively working with our UN partners about the resolution and on the language itself," US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.

He also acknowledged that Israel wanted to keep control over the monitoring of aid.

“Israel has had, understandably so, a role in the inspection regime – a key role, a pivotal role – and we understand and respect that,” he said.

Calls for a ceasefire are rising globally, but Israel, whose stated goal in Gaza is the elimination of Hamas, has said such a deal would only benefit the militant group.

The US, Israel's staunchest ally, has used its permanent member veto power to block earlier attempts by the council to pass resolutions calling for an end to the violence.

Meanwhile, the UN General Assembly last week overwhelmingly adopted a resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

UN General Assembly resolutions are non-binding and mainly serve as symbolic expressions of global sentiment.

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Updated: December 22, 2023, 11:04 AM