UN chief to meet Arab ministers on Gaza
By EDITH M. LEDERER,Associated Press Writer AP - Monday, January 5
UNITED NATIONS - The U.N. chief urged the divided Security Council to try to bring a speedy end to the escalating crisis in Gaza and planned to meet Monday with Arab ministers flying to New York to press for a resolution demanding an immediate end to the violence.
Late Saturday, the United States blocked approval of a Security Council statement calling for an immediate cease-fire and expressing serious concern at the escalation of violence after Israeli tanks and artillery began their ground assault on Hamas-ruled Gaza, council diplomats said.
"Given the crucial juncture at which we have arrived in the search for a cease-fire, I appeal to all members of the international community to display the unity and commitment required to bring this escalating crisis to an end," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.
U.S. deputy ambassador Alejandro Wolff said the United States saw no prospect of Hamas abiding by last week's council call for an immediate end to the violence. Therefore, he said, a new statement at this time "would not be adhered to and would have no underpinning for success, (and) would not do credit to the council."
While the council took no action Saturday night, an Arab draft resolution circulated by Libya on Wednesday night that would condemn Israel and halt its military attacks on Gaza remains on the table. It would have to be revised, however, since the United States called it "unacceptable" and "unbalanced" because it doesn't call for an end to the Hamas rocketing of Israel.
Ban said he "will be working actively with members of the council and other key players, in particular Arab leaders who I am seeing tomorrow at United Nations headquarters, to facilitate the emergence of a consensus."
He said he regretted the council had not been able to reach agreement yet.
Ban recalled Robert Serry, his special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, from Jerusalem to brief him on the situation on the ground.
With more than 510 Palestinians killed in Gaza and more than 2,500 injured, some Middle Eastern and European governments have strongly criticized Israel for use of excessive force.
Israel says it launched the offensive to stop rocket attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza, which have traumatized southern Israel.
Wolff said Israel is a sovereign state with the right to defend itself against Hamas, which is committed to Israel's destruction and has been labeled a terrorist organization by the United States.
Ban said he remains "extremely concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation" in Gaza.
The U.N. is in close contact with Israeli authorities to press them to open crossing into Gaza to allow in, particularly, wheat grain and fuel for the power plant, as well as other essential supplies, Ban said.
The main power plant in Gaza has been shut down since Tuesday because Israel has blocked fuel deliveries, and U.N. officials have said they desperately need wheat flour.
Recommend this article
Average (0 votes)
Sign in to recommend this article »
Most Recommended Stories »
Related Articles: World
John Travolta 'heartbroken' over son's deathAFP - 13 minutes ago
Greek policeman wounded in shooting incidentAFP - 52 minutes ago
Israeli army moves on Gaza City as war toll passes 510AFP - 1 hour 14 minutes ago
Shooting attack injures Greek policemanAP - 1 hour 24 minutes ago
Obama, lawmakers to discuss economic planAFP - 1 hour 51 minutes ago
Most Popular – World
US steel industry in collapse, eyes government aid: report
John Travolta's teenage son dies, autopsy planned
Israeli army moves on Gaza City as war toll passes 510
Rare Bugatti untouched for 50 years could fetch millions: report
France leads alarm over Gaza, splits with US
View Complete List »