Security Council
Photo: AFP

Still no deal on UN statement on Gaza

Security Council fails again to agree on compromise deal that would call for end to Israel's blockade of Gaza Strip, rocket strikes on Jewish state, as Libyan envoy seeks instructions from capital

The Security Council on Friday again failed to agree on a compromise deal that would call for an end to Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip and to rocket strikes on the Jewish state as the Libyan envoy sought instructions from his capital.


After day-long bargaining that produced several amendments to a non-binding statement, Libya's UN Ambassador Giadalla Ettalhi said he had to refer the latest text to Tripoli.


Ettalhi, the council chair this month and the 15-member body's only Arab representative said, after consulting with UN Arab ambassadors, that he had unspecified problems with a text now accepted by the 14 other members.


He said he hoped to have instructions from Tripoli Monday and would then schedule a council meeting to make a decision.


The United States, which had since Libya first submitted the statement, had been the lone member to raise major objections, on Friday put forward amendments and called the latest text "balanced.".


"The United States has been actively engaged," US deputy envoy Alejandro Wolff told reporters. "It's regrettable that the Libyan delegation could not agree."


Washington, a staunch ally of Israel, had insisted that Israel had acted in self-defense when it closed crossing points leading to Gaza in the face of rockets fired from the impoverished territory controlled by the Islamist movement Hamas.


Draft calls for cessation of rocket attacks

The latest draft on the table calls on Israel "to minimize the impact of its actions on the civilian populaton in Gaza" and "to facilitate safe and secure access for humanitarian aid to the Palestinians."


"The Security Council takes note of Israel's decision to suspend the closure of the crossing points and calls for its full implementation," the text further notes.


It also says the council "condemns the daily rocket and mortar attacks against Israeli civilians, particularly since Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in 2005."


The text says the council "condemns the terrorist rocket launches from Gaza and calls for an immediate cessation of such attacks."


Meanwhile, the Israeli lockdown of Gaza was in its ninth day on Friday as Egypt struggled to send back thousands of Gaza Palestinians who have flooded across the border to stock up on basic supplies.


Gazans defied an Egyptian deadline for the resealing of the frontier on Friday by ploughing new breaches in the border wall, allowing dozens to cross over.


Egyptian police did not intervene as a bulldozer was used to demolish sections of the barrier even though the authorities had earlier announced by loudspeaker that the border would be resealed from 1300 GMT.


On Tuesday, Israel allowed in shipments of cooking gas and fuel to power Gaza's sole power station, which had ground to a halt on Sunday night.


פרסום ראשון: 01.25.08, 22:58
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