U.S. calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire and hostage deal in draft UN resolution

U.S. calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire and hostage deal in draft UN resolution

The Guardian reports:

The US has drafted a new UN security council resolution calling for an “immediate ceasefire” and hostage deal in Gaza, amid mounting pressure on Israel to halt its military campaign and allow the delivery of substantial amounts of humanitarian aid into the Palestinian territory.

The CIA and Mossad spy chiefs, William Burns and David Barnea, were expected to arrive in Qatar on Friday in the hope of clinching an elusive truce-for-hostages deal between Israel and Hamas. Speaking in Egypt, the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said difficult work remained to be done but added: “I continue to believe it’s possible.”

Blinken characterised the UN resolution drafted by the US as calling for “an immediate ceasefire tied to the release of hostages.”

If the hostage talks in Doha fail however, the Biden administration will be faced with a dilemma, whether to continue to insist on that linkage in the face of a clear warning this week from a UN panel of experts that a catastrophic famine in Gaza is imminent. The wording of the new US draft resolution presented on Thursday, seen by the Guardian, was more ambiguous than Blinken about the linkage.

It said an “immediate and sustained ceasefire” was “imperative” adding that “towards that end” unequivocal support should be given to the hostage negotiations.

A European diplomat at the UN said the stress on an “immediate” ceasefire and the phrase “towards that end” showed significant movement in the US position. “I think it is a shift in saying that a ceasefire is not contingent on a specific deal,” the diplomat said.

The shift in wording came as European leaders met in Brussels to discuss a common EU call for a ceasefire. The EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said the failure to get immediate and enough aid into Gaza was a “failure of humanity” and condemned Israel’s reluctance to give full road access to a convoy of trucks waiting with humanitarian aid on the border with Gaza. [Continue reading…]

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