US-drafted UNSC resolution on Gaza downplays call for ceasefire

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United Nations, Mar 16 : Diplomats at the United Nations Security Council are negotiating a US-drafted resolution on Gaza, but the text downplays calls for an immediate ceasefire, Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy told Sputnik.

The US has used its veto power at the Security Council three times over the past five months to kill resolutions demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, most recently on February 20, when it blocked an Algerian draft.

Washington has instead proposed a resolution that “unequivocally supports international diplomatic efforts to establish an immediate and sustained ceasefire as part of a deal that releases the hostages,” according to a draft seen by Sputnik.

The watered-down phrasing of the draft illustrates the difficulties that diplomats have faced over the course of the war in Gaza, a conflict that has put the US at odds with the rest of the world, including its own allies.

“There is a resolution on the table, and we are negotiating it right now,” Polyanskiy said. “But the problem is the same as it was in previous efforts: the problem is that the US is absolutely allergic to any reference to the immediate ceasefire.”

The rest of the Security Council’s members would like to see stronger language in the resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire and opposing an impending Israeli operation in Rafah, but the US continues to obstruct such efforts, Polyanskiy said.

The US draft seem by Sputnik on Thursday mentions the impending operation by saying, “emphasising its concern that a ground offensive into Rafah would result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighboring countries.”

On October 7, Palestinian movement Hamas launched a large-scale rocket attack against Israel from Gaza and breached the border, killing 1,200 people and abducting around 240 others. Israel launched retaliatory strikes, ordered a complete blockade of Gaza, and started a ground incursion into the Palestinian enclave with the declared goal of eliminating Hamas fighters and rescuing the hostages. At least 31,300 people have been killed so far in the Gaza Strip, local authorities said.

On November 24, Qatar mediated a deal between Israel and Hamas on a temporary truce and the exchange of some of the prisoners and hostages, as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. The ceasefire was extended several times and expired on December 1. More than 100 hostages are still believed to be held by Hamas in Gaza.

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