Palestinians to Persist with UN Observer Force Resolution

Published December 21st, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

A proposal to dispatch a UN observer force to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, voted down in the UN Security Council late Monday, could be reintroduced within several days, a senior Palestinian official said today. 

"That's a possibility," Permanent Observer of Palestine at the UN Nasser al-Kidwa told reporters. "From our point of view, in a few days we will be ready to make the necessary conclusion." 

The draft resolution, calling for deployment of a United Nations observer force to protect Palestinians, received eight votes in its favor with seven abstentions, one vote shy of the nine required for passage. 

Al-Kidwa said that the exact timing of the resolution's re-emergence would depend both on developments in the Middle East -- where eleven weeks of Israeli-Palestinian violence has left nearly 350 people dead -- and events in Washington, where negotiators from both parties met today with US President Bill Clinton. 

"If developments on both fronts would warrant such steps (that is, retailing the resolution), we then believe that we stand (a) much bigger chance at least to get the necessary majority and, we hope, much more," he said. 

When asked about reports that the United States -- which, as a permanent member of the Security Council, has veto power -- would veto the resolution unless Israel gave the green light for its passage, al-Kidwa rejected this notion out of hand. 

"Israeli consent is not needed," he insisted. "Israeli a priori approval of any action by the Security Council is a shameful thing to suggest." 

"In any case, the US position alone will not be reason enough for us not to try to come back to the Security Council," al-Kidwa added. "Our next step is going back to the council and, in light of the result, we will decide on further action within the United Nations system." -- UNITED NATIONS (AFP) 



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