Monday, January 28, 2008

More UN capers

From THE JERUSALEM POST by MICHAL LANDO, Jerusalem Post correspondent, NEW YORK , Jan. 27, 2008:

NEW YORK - The UN Security Council is expected to make a final decision about a presidential statement on the situation in Gaza on Monday... the Libyan envoy stood out among the 15-member council as the only country unwilling to accept a new draft which now includes a condemnation of the Kassam attacks on Israel.

For most of the week-long negotiations over a draft statement proposed by Libya, the current president of the council, which harshly condemned Israel for the "humanitarian crises" in Gaza and made no mention of attacks on Israel, the US refused to agree to a statement they called unbalanced.

But Friday, after a long series of bargaining sessions that produced several amendments to the nonbinding statement, it was Libya's UN Ambassador Giadalla Ettalhi who said he had to refer the latest text to Tripoli.

Ettalhi's statement that he had unspecified problems with a text accepted by the 14 other members came after consulting with other Arab UN ambassadors. Western diplomats say the majority of the Arabs were willing to okay the draft, except for Syria and Qatar who strongly rejected it. The Palestinians, on the other hand, supported the draft, thinking it may strengthen Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, diplomats said.

..."Although ...the Security Council should not have been involved in it in the first place... the...fact that 14 countries are willing to condemn Kassam rockets is very important, and puts the emphasis where it should be, on terrorist attacks and security risks to Israel," Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. ....

....The latest draft calls on Israel "to minimize the impact of itsactions on the civilian population in Gaza" and "to facilitate safe and secure access for humanitarian aid to the Palestinians." It also says the council "condemns the daily rocket and mortar attacks against Israeli civilians, particularly since Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in 2005," and that the council "calls for an immediate cessation of such attacks."

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