Annan still hopes Israeli cabinet to approve arrival of U.N. team
Israel on Sunday again delayed a fact-finding mission into Israel's assault on the Jenin refugee camp, but U.N. chief Kofi Annan hoped Israel would reverse its decision Monday.
After a called U.N. Security Council meeting to consider the latest delay, members strongly supported Annan's efforts to immediately send the team with full cooperation of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
U.N. Undersecretary-General Kieran Prendergast told the Security Council meeting late Sunday that the Israeli Cabinet would meet on the matter Monday.
According to diplomats close to the UN Security Council, Prendergast told the closed council meeting Sunday night that the UN investigation team is going to be sent to Israel on Monday, with or without Israel's consent.
In its meeting Sunday, the Israeli Cabinet "approved Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's statement that conditions have yet to be created whereby (the) fact-finding committee may be received." The Cabinet statement concluded, "Israel awaits additional clarifications."
Prendergast said the secretary-general hoped "that the Israeli Cabinet will take a positive decision tomorrow morning. His priority is to get the fact-finding team on the ground as soon as possible." The Israeli cabinet is set to debate Monday the level of cooperation Israel will give to the investigation team.
The cabinet, which met Sunday for its weekly meeting, delayed for 24 hours its discussion on whether to cooperate with the UN probe. As a result of the delay, the UN team members, who were due to arrive in Israel on Sunday, cancelled their flights.
"I think we ought to give them a chance to work this out with the United Nations," U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte told reporters as he headed into the closed council meeting. Syria has introduced a draft Security Council resolution on behalf of Arab nations demanding that Israel and the Palestinians cooperate fully with the fact-finding team "without any hindrance or conditions."
But, according to AP, Arab nations after a 2-hour meeting decided not to press for a vote on Sunday. (Albawaba.com)
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