FILE PHOTO: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres addresses the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 19, 2023. AP
Despite more than two hours of closed-door discussions Monday, differences remained. The U.S. is calling for “humanitarian pauses” while many other council members are demanding a “humanitarian cease-fire” to deliver desperately needed aid and prevent more civilian deaths in Gaza.
“We talked about humanitarian pauses and we’re interested in pursuing language on that score,” U.S. deputy ambassador Robert Wood told reporters after the meeting. “But there are disagreements within the council about whether that’s acceptable.”
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier Monday told reporters he wanted an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza and a halt to the “spiral of escalation” already taking place from the occupied West Bank, Lebanon and Syria to Iraq and Yemen.
Guterres said international humanitarian law, which demands protection of civilians and infrastructure essential for their lives, is clearly being violated and stressed that “no party to an armed conflict is above” these laws.
China, which holds the Security Council presidency this month, and the United Arab Emirates, the Arab representative on the council, called Monday’s meeting because of the “crisis of humanity” in Gaza, where more than 10,000 people have been killed in less than a month, half of them ar children.
UAE Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh said all 15 council members “are fully engaged” and efforts will continue to try to narrow the gaps and reach agreement on a resolution.