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World

Blinken insists US not 'in the way of diplomacy' at UN

  • China has accused the US government of obstructionism in the Council's efforts to speak with "one voice."
18 May 2021

REYKJAVIK: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday insisted the US was "not standing in the way of diplomacy" in the UN by not backing a Security Council statement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The UN Security Council is due to meet for a fourth emergency session on Tuesday. Washington has so far refused to adopt a declaration calling for a halt to the violence.

China has accused the US government of obstructionism in the Council's efforts to speak with "one voice."

But diplomats from US allies have also regretted the stance, as President Joe Biden promised to return America to the multilateral arena after his predecessor Donald Trump distanced the country from international cooperation.

Even though Washington has remained the odd one out in the Security Council, it insists it is seeking an end to the violence between Israel and the Palestinians.

"We're not standing in the way of diplomacy. On the contrary... we're exercising it virtually non stop," Blinken told a Reykjavik press conference when asked about the critique.

Blinken, who was visiting the Icelandic capital ahead of an Arctic Council meeting of foreign ministers on Wednesday and Thursday, stressed that the US was "engaged in quiet, but very intensive diplomacy."

The US top diplomat added that "the question is, would any given action or any given statement actually advance the goal of ending the violence," signalling their belief that the drafted UN Security Council resolution could be counter-productive.

"If we think, going forward, that there's something, including at the United Nations, that would actually effectively advance the objective, we would be for it. But right now we are very focused on this intensive diplomacy with the objective of bringing the violence to an end," Blinken said.

Blinken recalled that Biden had displayed, for the first time, his support for a possible "ceasefire" between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which continue to exchange bombardments and rocket salvos with no sign of a lull after a week of deadly escalation.

"Our goal remains to bring the current cycle of violence to an end as quickly as possible," the Secretary of State said.

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