Cablegate: Settlements Unscr: Libya Tables Draft Resolution

DE RUCNDT #0573/01 1800040
O 280040Z JUN 08



E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Summary. The UN Security Council held its monthly
Middle East meeting on June 27. Lisa Buttenheim, Director of
the Asia and Pacific Division of the UN Department of
Political Affairs, briefed the Council in a public session,
and Council members subsequently discussed regional events in
closed consultations. Buttenheim noted positive but fragile
developments in the Middle East, and pointed to the recent
ceasefire between Hamas and Israel as one example. In closed
consultations, Libya put forward a draft resolution
condemning Israeli settlement expansion on behalf of the Arab
Group. Most delegates expressed an interest in trying to
reach consensus on the draft resolution, while the U.S.,
Croatia, and the UK expressed reservations about the
proposal, pointing to issues of substance and timing.
Delegates expressed support for the Israeli-Hamas ceasefire
in Gaza and the ongoing Annapolis process. Most welcomed the
Israeli-Syrian dialogue and indicated the need to ensure a
national unity government was formed in Lebanon, as per the
Doha agreement. End Summary.

Buttenheim: Positive but Fragile Developments

2. (SBU) Lisa Buttenheim, Director of the Asia and Pacific
Division of the UN Department of Political Affairs, briefed
the Council during a public session on June 27. (Note: A
transcript of her remarks was e-mailed to IO/UNP. End Note.)
Buttenheim said that there was a need to turn fragile, but
real, opportunities into genuine progress. She praised the
Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas that
went into effect on June 19. However, she noted breaches of
the ceasefire in the form of rocket and mortar attacks from
Gaza, IDF fire into Gaza, and Israel,s closing of border
crossings in Gaza. She reiterated the UN,s condemnation of
all deliberate or indiscriminate attacks on civilians and any
disproportionate or excessive use of force. Buttenheim said
the SYG urges Israel to heed the call of the Quartet to
freeze all settlement activity. She also spoke about
positive steps taken by Palestinian security forces to disarm
and arrest militants, Israel,s facilitation of the reopening
of Palestinian police stations, and the economic situation in
the Palestinian Authority. She called on countries to step
up their commitments to provide economic assistance. She
also welcomed indirect talks between Israel and Syria under
Turkish mediation. On Lebanon, Buttenheim noted slow
progress on the formation of a national unity government but
hoped an agreement would soon be reached despite violence in
recent days.

Most Delegations Welcome Libyan Draft

3. (SBU) Libya formally introduced a draft resolution,
prepared by the Arab Group, that condemns Israeli settlement
activity. (Note: The text of the resolution was included in
reftel. End Note.) Libya said that, in light of past
statements made by the Council and the Quartet, the draft
resolution should not raise difficulties for the &vast
majority of members.8 Libya recognized that it might be
sensitive for &one member state,8 but noted that recent
statements made by Secretary Rice on the issue of settlements
have been encouraging. Most member states thanked Libya for
its draft resolution, reaffirmed the importance of Council
involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and
expressed a willingness to engage constructively to reach
consensus on a final draft that would suit all member states.
China said that Israel,s expansion of settlements was
disquieting and a contravention of international law and
hoped the Council could reach consensus on a resolution.
France remarked that settlements are the major obstacle to
peace but that the issue must be viewed in the context of the
entire peace process. Russia said that Israel must freeze
settlement activity while other parties must also carry out
their agreements under the Roadmap.

4. (SBU) The U.S., UK, and Croatia explictly expressed
concerns about a resolution that only addresses Israeli
settlements without addressing Palestinian obligations under
the Roadmap. The UK said that a resolution focusing on only
one aspect of the peace process is not/not the best way to
move the process forward. Croatia likewise opposed focusing
on only one party,s obligations and expressed hesitation
about the timing of the initiative, given that bilateral
talks are ongoing. Amb Khalilzad stressed that the best way
to address adherence by both sides to their Roadmap
obligations is through the ongoing bilateral negotiations and
that Council action could make it harder to reach compromise.
He also emphasized the need to address the obligations of

USUN NEW Y 00000573 002 OF 002

both parties rather than singling out Israeli settlement
activity. But he said that the U.S. remains open-minded
about engaging on a Council product as long as it is helpful
on both substance and timing. After all delegations had
spoken, Libya said that the Arab Group had taken a firm
position in excluding contentious issues and had decided to
address settlements alone because it is an issue on which all
member states could reach consensus. Libya noted that the
Roadmap and other agreements have not put an end to
settlement expansion, which is in clear violation of
international law.

Mood Generally Positive about &Fragile8 Ceasefire
--------------------------------------------- ----

5. (SBU) All Council members supported the
Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and
urged both parties to abide by their obligations. But most
delegations noted that the calm is fragile, underlining the
need for the international community to remain fully engaged.
The U.S., France, South Africa, Vietnam, Italy, and Croatia
specifically condemned recent rocket and mortar attacks from
Gaza, but almost all delegations expressed general concern
about recent breaches of the tenuous ceasefire by the
Israelis, Palestinians, or both. Most members called on
Israel to end the closure of Gaza. Several delegations also
expressed concern about a recent IDF raid into Nablus that
was not coordinated with Palestinian security services.
France said that it would never compromise on the security of
Israel but that there must be a two-state solution that
includes an economically viable Palestinian state and
Jerusalem as the capital of two states. Russia and Indonesia
said that establishing unity was vital for the Palestinian
people. Amb Khalilzad restated the long-term U.S. goal for a
two-state solution. He recognized recent progress and noted
that talks were difficult but that their private nature
should not be mistaken for a lack of progress. At the same
time, he also recognized the challenges of harmful activities
that threaten the ceasefire. He condemned all attacks
against civilians and called on Israel to freeze all
settlement activity, consistent with the Roadmap.

Support for Regional Diplomacy

6. (SBU) Most member states welcomed negotiations between
Israel and Syria under Turkish mediation. Russia stressed a
policy of involvement rather than isolation with regard to
Syria. The UK was encouraged by talks between Israel and
Syria but called on Syria to do more about stopping support
for Palestinian rejectionist movements and work on improving
relations with Lebanon. On Lebanon, most delegations
expressed concern about the recent outbreak of violence in
Tripoli, the Bekaa Valley, and elsewhere and worried that it
could threaten the implementation of the Doha agreement.
Italy said that the Lebanese must rapidly and fully implement
the Doha Agreement and called for the Sheba,a Farms to be
put under UN jurisdiction pending Syrian-Lebanese border
demarcation. China, France, and others said they were
dedicated to seeing Doha fully implemented and hoped that a
government of national unity would quickly emerge. Amb
Khalilzad called for full implementation of the Doha
agreement and urged all parties to compromise in support of
Siniora,s efforts to establish a national unity government.
He said the U.S. was deeply concerned about recent act of
violence and reiterated the need to implement UNSCR 1701 in

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