France on Wednesday led a walkout of western envoys from a UN Security Council debate on the Middle East after Libya compared the situation in the besieged Gaza Strip to Nazi "concentration camps," diplomats said.
One diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said France's UN Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert took off his earpiece and walked out, followed by his Western colleagues, after his Libyan counterpart Giadalla Ettalhi made the remarks.
Speaking to reporters after the debate, Syria's UN Ambassador Bashar Jaafari told reporters: "Unfortunately those who complain of being victims of genocide (during World War II) are repeating the same kind of genocide against the Palestinians."
"The issue for us is to see the Security Council properly involved in finding solutions" to the crisis, in particular "the Israeli persecution of the Palestinians," he added.
The incident occurred as the 15-member council was trying to agree on a compromise statement that would have highlighted the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza while also contributing positively to efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian settlement.
South Africa's UN Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, the council chairman this month, told reporters that members "could not agree" on the statement.
In previous months, the council had several times tried and failed to agree on a statement regarding the crippling Israeli siege of Gaza in response to rocket fire from Palestinian militants based in Gaza.