US rejects French UN Mideast resolution

·2-min read

The US mission to the United Nations says it "will not support actions that we believe undermine efforts to de-escalate" violence between Israel and Palestinian militants when asked about a French push for a Security Council resolution.

France on Tuesday called for such a move and is expected to circulate a draft text to council members as early as Wednesday, diplomats said.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Wednesday he hoped the 15-member body could vote as soon as possible.

A resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by Russia, China, France, the United States or the United Kingdom to pass.

The US has traditionally shielded its ally Israel at the United Nations.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told her UN counterparts on Tuesday that a "public pronouncement right now" by the council would not help calm the crisis.

When asked about the French push for a resolution, a spokesperson for the US mission to the United Nations on Wednesday reaffirmed its position had not changed.

"We've been clear and consistent that we are focused on intensive diplomatic efforts underway to bring an end to the violence and that we will not support actions that we believe undermine efforts to de-escalate," the spokesperson said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue fighting against Gaza militants after US President Joe Biden urged him on Wednesday to seek a "de-escalation" of 10 days of fighting between Israel and Hamas militants and other groups in Gaza.

France made its move at the United Nations after the US repeatedly opposed a Security Council statement, which has to be agreed by consensus.

French diplomats believe a UN Security Council resolution could raise pressure on the parties to end hostilities and would complement other diplomatic initiatives.

"We think a unified and strong voice from the Security Council actually carries weight, not only in this situation, but in other situations of conflict," a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday.

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