UN Assembly to Hold Special Emergency Session Wednesday on Middle East
The General Assembly of the United Nations will hold a special emergency session Wednesday on the crisis in the Middle East, spokeswoman Susan Markham said Tuesday.
The session -- which is expected to condemn Israel for excessive use of force against Palestinians -- was called after the UN Security Council turned down a request by Palestinian officials for a meeting on Thursday.
At the time, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Holbrooke, told reporters he would use the US power of veto to defeat any council resolution critical of Israel.
The previous Saturday, October 7, the United States had abstained when the rest of the council voted 14-0 for Resolution 1322, which condemned Israel's "excessive use of force".
Holbrooke said the resolution was "biased and one-sided and unhelpful to the situation."
He later told reporters that "the Security Council has effectively ended, at least temporarily, its potential usefulness in this crisis."
Under a resolution adopted on November 3, 1950, the General Assembly can meet in special emergency session if the Security Council "fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security."
No member state has a veto in the General Assembly.
But, unlike council resolutions, decisions of the General Assembly are not binding upon member states.
Markham, spokeswoman for Assembly President Harri Holkeri of Finland, said the special emergency session was scheduled to begin at 1400 GMT.
The Assembly has held 10 such sessions, most of them on the Middle East.
The 10th was adjourned, but not closed, three times in 1997, 1998 and last year. Wednesday's meeting will be a resumption of that session.
On February 9 last year, the General Assembly adopted by 115 votes to two a resolution calling for a special UN conference in July to examine "persistent violations" by Israel of a Geneva convention.
The United States and Israel voted against, while five states abstained: Australia, Bahamas, Cameroon, Romania and Swaziland.
The conference never took place -- UNITED NATIONS (AFP)
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