Sat, Jun 02, 2018 - Page 6 News List

US promises veto of UN Palestinian resolution

SOUTH SUDAN:The Security Council voted to impose sanctions on six South Sudanese and a potential arms embargo if physical and political fighting does not stop

AP, UNITED NATIONS

An artist writes graffiti in solidarity with Palestinian people in Sana’a on Thursday.

Photo: EPA

The US is vowing to veto an Arab-backed resolution that asks the UN chief to propose measures to ensure “international protection” for Palestinian civilians.

A vote on the measure — which comes after weeks of urgent discussions, but no agreement on any action about escalating violence in Gaza — was at one point expected on Thursday evening. Diplomats then said it would be delayed and appeared likely yesterday.

The Kuwait-sponsored draft resolution “deplores” and demands a halt to “the use of any excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force” by the Israeli military, while it also “deplores the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip at Israeli civilian areas.”

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley lambasted the proposal for discussing “excessive” Israeli force while making no mention of Hamas.

“It is a grossly one-sided approach that is morally bankrupt and would only serve to undermine ongoing efforts toward peace between the Israelis and Palestinians,” Haley said in a statement on Thursday evening.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon also has sharply criticized the proposal.

The council has been deeply divided and paralyzed over dealing with the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After a series of emergency meetings about Gaza — the latest on Wednesday — the UN’s most powerful body so far has not been able to agree even on a press statement.

The draft resolution expresses “grave concern” at the escalation of violence and tensions and the deteriorating situation in the Palestinian territories, especially since the start of a series of mass protests at the Gaza border on March 30.

Hamas on Wednesday said it had agreed to a ceasefire with Israel.

The draft resolution calls for urgent steps “to ensure an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire” and asks UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a written report within 60 days ways to ensure “the safety, protection and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation,” including recommendations about “an international protection mechanism.”

The draft also urges immediate, unimpeded humanitarian access and “tangible steps” toward reconciliation between different Palestinian factions.

The US and Kuwaiti ambassadors said their nations had proposed press statements on the Israeli-Palestinian issue that had been blocked in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, the council on Thursday adopted a US-sponsored resolution that threatens an arms embargo on South Sudan and sanctions against six people, including the nation’s defense chief, if fighting does not stop and a political agreement reached.

The resolution received just the minimum nine “yes” votes, with six countries abstaining: Russia, China, Bolivia, Kazakhstan, Equatorial Guinea and Ethiopia.

The resolution asks Guterres to report by June 30 on whether fighting is taking place and “a viable political agreement” has been reached.

If he reports fighting or lack of an agreement, it says the council would consider imposing an arms embargo or sanctions against the six officials — or both measures within five days.

There were high hopes that South Sudan would have peace and stability after its independence from Sudan in 2011, but the nation plunged into ethnic violence in December 2013, when forces loyal to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, started battling those loyal to Riek Machar, his former vice president who is a Nuer.

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