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US says new UN draft on Gaza war will not help anything

By AFP

May 29, 2024 10:28 PM


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The United States is wary of a new UN resolution on the war in Gaza, its deputy ambassador said Wednesday as a draft seeks an immediate ceasefire and a halt to Israel's offensive in Rafah.

Algeria called an urgent UN Security Council meeting on Tuesday after an Israeli strike killed 45 people at a tent camp in Rafah for displaced people on Sunday, drawing international condemnation.

"We've said from the beginning that any kind of additional product on the situation right now probably is not going to be helpful," deputy US envoy Robert Wood told reporters, referring to a text from the council.

"It's not going to change the situation on the ground."

Algeria started circulating its draft among fellow members of the Security Council after the emergency meeting.

The draft resolution, which draws on last week's ruling by the International Court of Justice, "decides that Israel, the occupying Power, shall immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in Rafah."

It also "demands an immediate ceasefire respected by all parties, and also demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages."

No vote on the text has been scheduled yet.

"We don't think another resolution is really going to change the dynamics on the ground," said Wood.

Wood said the United States, which freely uses its veto power to protect Israel, believes that negotiations in the region are the proper way to achieve a ceasefire.

In early May indirect talks between Israel and Hamas failed to achieve a ceasefire and hostage and prisoner release deal. Qatar, Egypt and the United States acted as intermediaries.

In a meeting Wednesday many members of the Security Council noted the ruling last week by the International Court of Justice ordering Israel to halt its offensive in Rafah immediately.

The council has struggled to find a unified voice since the war broke out with the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, followed by Israel's retaliatory campaign.

The Hamas attack resulted in the deaths of 1,189 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Militants also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.

Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed at least 36,171 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.

After passing two resolutions centered on the need for humanitarian aid to people in Gaza, in March the Security Council passed a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire -- an appeal that had been blocked several times before by the United States, Israel's main ally.

Washington, increasingly frustrated with how Israel is waging the war and its mounting civilian death toll, finally allowed that resolution to pass by abstaining from voting.

abd/dw/bfm


AFP


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