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US says Algeria push for UN ceasefire resolution could hurt Gaza talks

February 2, 2024 at 8:47 pm

US Representative of UN, Linda Thomas Greenfield (C) attend the United Nations Security Council meeting after the rulings of International Court of Justice on Israel, at the UN Headquarters in New York, United States on January 31, 2024. [Fatih Aktaş – Anadolu Agency]

US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said on Friday that Algeria’s draft Security Council resolution calling for a Gaza ceasefire could jeopardise “sensitive negotiations” aimed at brokering a pause in Israel’s war, Reuters reports.

Algeria shared the draft with the 15-member Council on Wednesday. It would demand an immediate humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. It was not immediately clear if or when Algeria could put the draft resolution to a vote.

“This draft resolution could put sensitive negotiations in jeopardy – derailing the exhaustive, ongoing diplomatic efforts to secure the release of hostages, and secure an extended pause that Palestinian civilians and aid workers so desperately need,” Thomas-Greenfield told reporters.

The United States, Israel, Egypt and Qatar last week drafted a proposal for an extended pause in fighting and are awaiting a response from Hamas. The only truce, so far, lasted a week in late November.

“If accepted and implemented, this proposal would move all parties one step closer to creating the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

“The Council has the obligation to ensure that any action we take in the coming days increases pressure on Hamas to accept this proposal,” she said.

READ: Algeria to request Security Council meeting regarding The Hague ruling

Qatar’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, met with UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, in New York on Friday and briefed him on the status of the talks, said UN spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.

The Gaza war began when fighters from the Hamas group attacked Israel on 7 October, killing 1,200 people and capturing 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies. In retaliation, Israel launched a military assault on Gaza that health authorities say has killed more than 27,000 Palestinians with thousands more bodies feared lost amid the ruins.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

The US and Israel oppose a ceasefire, believing it would only benefit Hamas. Washington, instead, supports pauses in fighting to protect civilians and free hostages taken by Hamas.

Washington traditionally shields its ally Israel from UN action and has already twice vetoed Council action since 7 October.  But it has also abstained twice, allowing the Council to adopt resolutions that aimed to boost humanitarian aid to Gaza and called for urgent and extended humanitarian pauses in fighting.

To be adopted, UN Security Council resolution needs at least nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the United States, Britain, France, China or Russia.

“We don’t see that this resolution adds anything to what we already have, but we worry that the resolution will hurt what we’re doing on the ground right now,” Thomas-Greenfield said of Algeria’s draft text.

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