U.S. Blocks U.N. Statement on Violence in Gaza

China, holding Security Council presidency, criticizes U.S. for its stance on the proposed statement

U.N. ambassadors Tarek Ladeb of Tunisia, center, with China’s Zhang Jun and Norway’s Mona Juul, after the virtual United Nations Security Council meeting on Sunday.

WASHINGTON (RAHNUMA) The U.S. blocked a proposed statement being considered by United Nations Security Council members on Monday that would have condemned the violence in Gaza and called for a cease-fire between warring parties, diplomats said.

China drafted the statement late on Sunday following an emergency session of the Security Council held virtually to discuss the crisis. Security Council members were required to voice any opposition by noon Monday. The U.S. opposition to the statement prevented it from being released, the diplomats said. No vote was held.

The dispute over the proposed statement was the latest instance of the U.S. and China publicly clashing at the U.N. over a foreign policy matter. The U.S. and China sparred at the Security Council as recently as last week over China’s treatment of its Uyghur minority.

China, which holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council for the month of May, accused the U.S. of preventing the U.N. Security Council from speaking about the international crisis in one voice.

“We urge the U.S. to shoulder its fair share of responsibilities, take a just stance, and work with the majority of the international community to support the Security Council,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters on Monday.

Mr. Zhao said China’s four-point proposal stated that a cease-fire and the cessation of violence was the priority, and urged all parties—especially Israel—to exercise restraint.

China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, criticized the U.S. on Sunday in the open Security Council meeting for standing in the way of an earlier statement.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was traveling in Europe on Monday, told reporters that the U.S. would support the U.N. statement if it offered any prospect of ending the violence.

“If we think that there’s something—including at the United Nations—that would effectively advance that, we would be for it,” he said.

President Biden on Monday expressed his support for a cease-fire in a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said. Mr. Netanyahu on Sunday said the Israeli military campaign hadn’t yet achieved its goals.

Israel said its airstrikes targeting Hamas targets continued on Monday, while Palestinian militants continued rocket attacks.

In Gaza, more than 200 people, including 58 children and 34 women have been killed since last Monday. In Israel 11 people, including one child, have been killed.

A U.S. official at the United Nations in New York said that Washington was engaged at the highest level in efforts to end the violence in the region.

“We…remain prepared to lend our support and good offices should the parties seek a cease-fire,” the official said.

U.N. representatives from other countries said the Security Council statement proposed by China could have been strengthened, but didn’t object to it. Mexico suggested language to include in a future draft.

“Mexico did not object to the statement. A text was put forth for consideration of the Council and we suggested some elements to further strengthen it,” a spokesman for Mexico’s mission to the U.N. said.

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