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World

US and France tangle at UN over Middle East

  • France's latest proposal -- announced in a statement from Paris on Tuesday evening -- quickly drew a firm response from the United States, signaling it would wield its veto again if needed.
Updated 20 May, 2021

UNITED NATIONS: The conflict in the Middle East has stirred up a diplomatic stand-off at the United Nations between France and the United States, the first open tension between the two allies since President Joe Biden took power.

Despite guaranteed opposition from Washington, France proposed another draft UN Security Council resolution calling for the end of hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as humanitarian access to the Gaza Strip.

According to the text obtained by AFP, the draft "demands an immediate cessation of hostilities" and calls for "intensification and acceleration of diplomatic efforts and support for a negotiated two-state solution".

The text has been circulated among the 15 Security Council members, who have until Thursday to weigh in, diplomats said. France has not given any indication on when a vote might be held.

The United States has repeatedly vetoed similar resolutions in recent days, saying it is pursuing other avenues to solve the crisis.

France's latest proposal -- announced in a statement from Paris on Tuesday evening -- quickly drew a firm response from the United States, signaling it would wield its veto again if needed.

A US spokesperson at the UN told AFP "we are focused on intensive diplomatic efforts underway to bring an end to the violence and that we will not support actions that we believe undermine efforts to de-escalate."

At the same time, Biden announced he had directly told Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he expects "significant de-escalation" on Wednesday -- highlighting the contrasting approaches to the conflict.

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