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US to urge UN to pass temporary ceasefire in Gaza

todayFebruary 20, 2024 8

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US to urge UN to pass temporary ceasefire in Gaza

The US has drafted a new UN Security Council resolution that calls for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza – and opposes Israel’s plans to launch a major ground offensive in Rafah.

According to Reuters, Washington also plans to veto a rival, Algeria-drafted resolution that demands an immediate humanitarian ceasefire – amid concerns it could jeopardise talks between the US, Egypt, Israel and Qatar.

Until now, American officials have been averse to use the word “ceasefire” at the UN, but the new text reflects the language used by President Joe Biden in talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

David Cameron  arrives at Mount Pleasant airbase on the Falkland Islands.
Pic: PA

Image:
David Cameron arrives at Mount Pleasant airbase on the Falkland Islands. Pic: PA

If passed, the Security Council would “underscore its support for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable, based on the formula of all hostages being released, and call for lifting all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale”.

It would need nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the US, France, the UK, Russia and China to be enacted.

The text adds: “Under current circumstances a major ground offensive into Rafah would result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighbouring countries.”

More than one million Palestinians have sought shelter in Rafah – and there is international concern that such an offensive would exacerbate the humanitarian crisis.

Read more from Sky News:
‘Gaza is worst humanitarian crisis I have seen in 50 years’
The scale of Rafah’s vast tent city

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Netanyahu defiant over Rafah

Speaking in the Falkland Islands, Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron also called for “a stop to the fighting right now” in Gaza – and cautioned against an offensive in Rafah.

He said hostages should be released, and humanitarian aid should be allowed to flow in, “straight away”.

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Lord Cameron added: “We are going to have to see Hamas leaders leave Gaza, we are going to have to see the machinery of terrorism taken down, we are going to have to see a proper horizon for the Palestinian people, a new Palestinian government.

“But let’s make that happen, let’s have the stop to the fighting now, have that hostage release and then build on it from here. That’s what we need to happen rather than an offensive in Rafah.”

Ceasefire negotiations have been struggling in recent weeks, with little signsof progress.

Written by: Newsroom

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