US deems UN Mideast action unhelpful, France pushes UN resolution

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: New U.S. Ambassador to United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield holds a news conference in New York

By Michelle Nichols and John Irish

NEW YORK/PARIS (Reuters) -France called on Tuesday for a U.N. Security Council resolution on violence between Israel and Palestinian militants, as diplomats said the United States told the body a "public pronouncement right now" would not help calm the crisis.

The 15-member Security Council held its third private meeting in a week on the worst violence between Israel and the Palestinians in years. The council also met publicly on Sunday, but has been unable to agree a press statement, which needs consensus support, due to the objection of the United States.

"We have not been silent and neither have you," Thomas-Greenfield told the Security Council on Tuesday, according to a U.N. diplomat familiar with her remarks.

"With regard to further Security Council action, we must assess if any given action or statement will advance prospects for ending the violence," she said. "We do not judge that a public pronouncement right now will help de-escalate."

During the same meeting, diplomats said France raised the possibility of a Security Council resolution on the conflict. The French presidency then confirmed it was calling for such for a move. Diplomats said no draft text has been put forward.

"The U.N. Security Council must take up the subject and we have also called for a vote on a resolution on the subject," the presidency said after talks between Emmanuel Macron, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan's King Abdullah.

Thomas-Greenfield told the council that Washington's focus would continue to be intensive diplomacy to try and end the violence, noting there had so far been 60 high-level calls by senior U.S. officials, President Joe Biden.

She added: "President Biden expressed support for a ceasefire."

French diplomats said they believe that a U.N. Security Council resolution could raise pressure on the parties to end hostilities, adding that any action in New York would complement other diplomatic initiatives and they think there is a way to make the United States "evolve".

Israel unleashed an offensive on militants in Gaza after Hamas fired rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in retaliation for Israeli police clashes with Palestinians near al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Gaza health officials said the Palestinian death toll so far was at least 212, including 61 children. Ten people have been killed in Israel, including two children.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; additional reporting by John Irish; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Grant McCool)

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