U.S. blocks U.N. statement on Gaza Strip crisis
The U.N. Security Council ended a week of discussions on Tuesday and abandoned efforts to adopt a statement on the crisis in Gaza Strip after Libya and the United States were unable to agree on the wording.
The 15-nation council started discussions on a non-binding statement a week ago after Israel sealed all border crossings to the Gaza Strip. According to Reuters, diplomats conveyed that the council was deadlocked due to irreconcilable Libyan and U.S. demands on the content and phrasing of the declaration.
Libya's ambassador to the United Nations, Giadalla Ettalhi, president of the council for the month of January, indicated that Tripoli blamed Washington for the deadlock. "The members realized this morning that they cannot reach a consensus concerning this," he told reporters. "Why the United States rejected the amendments produced by Libya, I think this is a question to be put to them." The Libyans tried to negotiate a more balanced statement, which would condemn Israel while expressing concern regarding the rocket fire by Gaza-based gunners.
The Arab League last week proposed a non-binding draft statement expressing concern about the humanitarian situation in the coastal terrirtory, criticizing the attacks on Israel and calling on the Jewish state to reopen the border crossings. The draft found support among all the council members except Washington. It objected to what Deputy U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff described as the failure to address the core issue -- the "illegal coup usurping power from the legitimate Palestinian Authority by the terrorist group Hamas."
Libya offered a counterproposal on Monday but Washington and other states found it unacceptable because they said it failed to condemn the attacks against Israel sharply enough. "It is imperative not to equate acts of self-defense with terrorist rocket attacks," Wolff said when asked about his objections to the Libyan counterproposal.