Blinken hopes for progress on Gaza at UN Security Council

AFP , Wednesday 20 Dec 2023

Secretary of State Antony Blinken voiced guarded hope Wednesday that the United States would be able to support a new UN Security Council resolution on Gaza, with a sticking point on access for aid.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks in the Treaty Room of the State Department during a ceremony for a defense cooperation agreement with Finland s Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen and Defense Minister Antti H kk nen in the Treaty Room of the State Department in Washington, DC on December 18, 2023. AFP


The United States, Israel's critical ally, has vetoed two resolutions at the Security Council as it rejected calls on Israel to end its deadly war on Gaza as the death toll among Palestinians nears 20,000.

Blinken, addressing reporters in Washington, said that the United States was engaging "in very good faith" with other countries, after fury in the Arab world over the previous vetoes.

"We've been working this intensely. I've been on the phones about this for the last couple of days," Blinken said.

"I hope we can get to a good place," he said.

The latest version of the draft resolution, led by the United Arab Emirates, stops short of using the word ceasefire and focuses instead on humanitarian access into the beleaguered Gaza Strip.

Blinken indicated that the humanitarian issue was the sticking point, with Israel insisting on full control of supplies that enter the blockaded Palestinian territory.

"The purpose of the resolution as stated by the countries that put it forward is to facilitate and help expand humanitarian assistance that's getting into Gaza. And we fully support that," Blinken said.

"We want to make sure that the resolution in what it calls for and requires actually advances that effort and doesn't do anything that could actually hurt the delivery of humanitarian assistance make it more complicated," he said.

Blinken argued that the United States, which has exerted pressure behind the scenes, has succeeded in recent days in making progress, including through the arrival of commercial trucks and the opening of a second crossing into Gaza.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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