Russia, Arab League demand UN ceasefire for Gaza

AFP , Wednesday 20 Dec 2023

Russia and the Arab League called jointly on Wednesday for a UN ceasefire resolution in the Gaza Strip during the Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Arab League - Russia
Morocco s Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita (C) Russia s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (C-L) and Arab League assistant secretary-general Hossam Zaki (C-R) attend a press conference during the 6th session of the Arab-Russian cooperation Forum on December 20,2023 in Marrakesh. AFP


The forum, which usually focuses on diplomatic and economic ties, was dominated by talks on Israel's war on Gaza, as it presses forward with its invasion of the territory.

"We hope that the Security Council will raise its voice for a mature resolution (calling for a ceasefire)," said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during the meeting. "We have agreed to continue coordination within the United Nations."

The UN Security Council was set to vote later on Wednesday on a resolution calling for a pause in Israel's war on the strip, diplomatic sources told AFP.

Israel's war has killed more than 19,600 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Chaired by Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, the meeting was attended by Lavrov and diplomats from the 22-member Arab League.

"We hope that the Security Council can adopt this resolution and that there will not be a veto from a permanent member, notably the United States," said Hossam Zaki, assistant secretary general of the league.

"The Arab hope is that the United States understands that international patience is exhausted in the face of Israel's practices."

Speaking via videoconference, Arab League Chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit called for an "immediate ceasefire," adding that "anyone who opposes an immediate ceasefire in Gaza has the blood of innocents on their hands".

"The occupation is the heart of the problem and the origin of the cause," Aboul Gheit said, advocating for a two-state solution and calling for the "creation as quickly as possible of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders".

Lavrov also said it was "urgent to create a Palestinian state" and even "accelerate the process," because "some sources say that our Western partners are trying to develop hidden projects to separate the West Bank from Gaza".

On December 8, the US vetoed a ceasefire resolution.

Wednesday's vote on a new resolution comes after two votes were delayed on Monday with members wrangling over wording, sources told AFP.

The text's latest version calls for a "suspension" of the conflict, said the sources.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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