UN suspends Gaza debate

2012-11-22 09:27
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (File, AP)

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (File, AP)

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New York — With a cease-fire announced in the Gaza crisis, the UN Security Council called off a formal open debate that had been scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

The council had been silent since Israel launched air raids on Hamas in Gaza last Wednesday in response to months of Hamas rocket fire into Israel.

Arab nations had called for an open Security Council debate if a cease-fire was not arranged, and Russia was ready to introduce a resolution calling for a cease-fire.

Instead, the council held closed consultations, then heard a report by videoconference from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who since Monday has been talking with Middle East leaders.

Ban welcomed the cease-fire and said it was urgent that humanitarian aid be delivered to Gaza.

As the meeting ended, the council's president this month, Indian Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, read out a press statement adopted by consensus welcoming the cease-fire and commending Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi for helping achieve it.

No blame assigned

It also called for more humanitarian said to be delivered with the cooperation of Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority. No mention was made of Hamas, which actually governs on the ground in Gaza.

The statement made no reference to who started or stoked the cycle of violence. The council had been paralysed for days, while the violence raged, over US refusal to approve a statement that did not refer to the months of Hamas rocket fire into Israel that led up to the Israeli air strikes. Britain and Germany also wanted to see some reference to the Hamas rocket fire in a statement.

In the end, no blame was assigned.

US Ambassador Susan Rice also had made it clear that Washington did not want any council action or speeches to inflame passions or undermine the goal of mediating a cease-fire.

She came out after the council meeting to emphasise that the crisis began with "the escalating barrages of rockets launched from Gaza by Hamas and other terrorist organisations" into Israel. She mourned the Israeli and Palestinian casualties, and called for renewed work to push for the two-state solution establishing a Palestinian state, alongside Israel.

Read more on:    un  |  mohammed morsi  |  ban ki-moon  |  israel  |  gaza strip  |  middle east peace

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