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NEW YORK: Pakistan Thursday urged the UN General Assembly to call for a halt to the Israeli aggression in Gaza and demand concrete steps to safeguard the besieged Palestinians, including deployment of an international protection force in the occupied territories.

“We should deploy an international protection force,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi told a special session of the 193-member assembly, pointing out such a force was called for in General Assembly Resolution ES-10/20 and demanded by the Islamic Summit Conference on 18 May 2018.

“It is appalling that the (UN) Security Council has been unable to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security,” he said, noting that the 15-member body had failed even to demand a cessation of hostilities.

“Those preventing the Council from doing so bear a heavy responsibility,” the foreign minister said in an obvious reference to the repeated blocking by the United States of a statement calling for an end to the hostilities on the ground that such a move would interfere with the Biden administration’s attempts to stop the fighting.

“It is appalling that the (UN) Security Council has been unable to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. If the Security Council cannot agree to send the protection force, a ‘coalition of the willing’ can be formed to provide at least civilian observers to monitor a cessation of the hostilities and supervise the provision of humanitarian help to the Palestinians,” Qureshi added.

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