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US, UAE work toward middle ground at UNSC

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UNITED NATIONS: The United States and the United Arab Emirates engaged in last-minute consultations on Monday as the UN Security Council prepared to vote on a new resolution urging an “urgent and sustainable cessation of hostilities” in Gaza.

The UAE resolution responds to escalating tensions in the region and growing impatience among key allies, notably the US, with Israel’s military actions.

The resolution calls for an immediate and sustainable cessation of hostilities to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access in Gaza and supports a two-state solution. But it does not explicitly condemn Hamas, prompting objections from Israel and the US.

The move follows the recent US rejection of a Security Council resolution proposing a “humanitarian ceasefire” in the battered Palestinian territory. The rejection raised questions about the international community’s stance on the conflict.

Fresh draft calls for ‘urgent and sustainable cessation of hostilities’

While the General Assembly, with 193 members, overwhelmingly supported a ceasefire, the Security Council has faced challenges in passing resolutions related to Gaza. Out of six proposed resolutions during the ongoing conflict, only one has been adopted, calling for “humanitarian pauses.”

America’s key Western allies, such as France, the UK, and Germany, have joined global calls for a ceasefire, as have US allies in the Arab and Muslim regions.

A Security Council resolution needs at least nine out of 15 votes in favor and no vetoes by the US, France, China, Britain or Russia.

UN diplomats told various media outlets that the fate of the draft resolution hinges on final negotiations between the mover (UAE) and the United States, which has vetoed previous resolutions.

US officials told journalists that they were working with the UAE to make changes that would make the resolution more acceptable.

The draft text “calls for an urgent and sustainable cessation of hostilities to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access.” The US wants to tone down to pauses in the fighting to allow humanitarian aid. Both Israel and Washington argue that a ceasefire would benefit Hamas.

They also want the document to identify Hamas as the party that started the war.

The urgency of the situation is underscored by the dire humanitarian toll. Since Oct. 7, Israel has bombarded Gaza from the air, imposed a siege and launched a ground offensive, killing almost 19,000 Palestinians and destroying their homes. UN officials have also accused Israel of using a food blockade as a war tactic to starve Palestinians.

The draft resolution aims to set up UN monitoring in Gaza of aid delivered via land, sea or aid by countries who are not parties to the conflict. The UN would notify the Palestinian Authority and Israel of those aid deliveries.

It calls for the immediate release of all hostages as well and condemns terrorism and all indiscriminate attacks against civilians – by either Hamas or Israel.

Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2023


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