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Cablegate: Security Council Continues Discussions On Gaza

VZCZCXRO0668
OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUCNDT #0077 0250113
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 250113Z JAN 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3611
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD IMMEDIATE 1792
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA IMMEDIATE 3053
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 000077

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM KWBG KPAL UNSC IS
SUBJECT: SECURITY COUNCIL CONTINUES DISCUSSIONS ON GAZA

REF: A. STATE 7233
B. USUN 75

1. (SBU) Following a U.S. decision to engage, the Security
Council continued consulations January 24 on a draft
Presidential Statement (PRST) on the humanitarian situation
in Gaza. The meetings concluded without agreement on a text.
All delegations requested the United States to convey its
bottom line during a final discussion of the text January 25.
(On January 25, DPRs will meet in the morning to review text
and PRs will meet in the afternoon to determine if there is
consensus.) During morning meetings on January 24, USUN
enumerated additional elements that would need to be included
in the PRST in order to win American support and offered
specific language proposals. In the afternoon of January 24,
PermReps rejoined the matter. Recalling that the Security
Council had never condemned rocket attacks from Gaza into
Israel nor condemned the Hamas coup last June, Amb Wolff made
clear that the United States could not concur with any
statement that did not also address the security situation.
He explained that the United States had a special role in the
peace process, including a responsibility to support the
legitimate government of President Abbas.

2. (SBU) Libyan PR Etalhi and South African PR Kumalo
expressed pessimism that the Council could accept all of the
U.S. proposals. Etalhi suggested that if the United States
insisted on a condemnation of the rocket attacks, Libya would
seek a condemnation of Israeli military incursions into Gaza.
Russian PR Churkin, however, made a strong pitch for serious
consideration of U.S. proposals in order to obtain consensus,
although he also said "some elements clearly cannot be
accepted." Otherwise, he warned, the window of opportunity
opened in Annapolis would be closed. Churkin underscored
Russian support for a strong condemnation of rocket attacks,
a position echoed by the European and Latin delegations.
Churkin also emphasized that a PRST that condemned rocket
attacks would be an "important political message" from the
Council. Chinese DPR Liu also restated China's willingness
to seriously review U.S. proposals in order to reach a
consensus, arguing it was the Council's duty to address the
crisis, a theme echoed by many delegations, including
Churkin, who expressed concern for the consequences of
failure for the Palestinians. UK DPR Pierce sought to
summarize the elements that commanded unanimous support: a
condemnation of violence, a concern about the deteriorating
humanitarian situation, a call for all parties to abide by
their obligations under international law, a call for the
opening of crossings and support for PM Fayyad's proposal for
Palestinian control of those crossings, and a call for
international assistance to the Palestinians. There was some
debate as to the sequence of primary subjects: should the
humanitarian situation or the security situation be addressed
first.

3. (SBU) Separately, the Arab Group met the afternoon of
January 24 to discuss the U.S. proposals. The Egyptians and
Jordanians advised USUN that the Arab Group has agreed that
if the Council fails to issue a PRST, the Arab Group will ask
the Libyan delegation (Arab member of the Council) to table a
resolution that is the text of the revised PRST (ref b)
tabled by Libya January 23, which had the support of the
other 14 delegations on the Council. Reportedly, Palestinian
PR Mansour said the Palestinians could accept some but not
all of the U.S. proposals to the PRST text. There was a
heated debate on the issue of including language condemning
rocket attacks. For the first time, nearly all Arab
delegations agreed to condemn rocket attacks, but aggressive
Syrian opposition led the group to settle on language
expressing deep concern.
KHALILZAD

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