Diplomats from countries gather in
Security Council Chamber at the UN headquarters in New York, the United
States, Jan. 8, 2009. Security Council is expected to vote on a draft
resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.(Xinhua/Hou
UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security
Council is expected to vote on a draft resolution calling for an immediate
ceasefire in Gaza, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said here on
Miliband made the statement to reporters after he
emerged from closed-door consultations with his Western and Arab counterparts at
the UN headquarters in New York.
There is a "hopeful unanimity" on the draft
resolution, he added.
Britain circulated a draft resolution at the
15-nation Security Council, which "stresses the urgency and calls for an
immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire, leading to the full withdrawal
of Israeli forces from Gaza."
The draft resolution also stressed that "the Gaza
Strip constitutes an integral part of the territory occupied in 1967 and will be
a part of the Palestine State."
More than 700 Palestinians were reportedly killed in
the 13-day-long military assaults on Gaza by Israel to retaliate for the Hamas
firing of rockets into southern Israel.
Arab foreign ministers and their U.S., British and
French counterparts, who stayed at the UN headquarters in New York for an extra
day, have been debating two competing draft resolutions in a bid to reach a
Earlier, Amr Moussa, secretary-general of the League
of Arab States, told reporters here that Arab countries are to request the UN
Security Council to vote on a draft resolution on the Gaza conflict on Thursday
Moussa is leading a team of Arab foreign ministers at
the UN headquarters to press the Security Council for adopting a resolution
demanding an immediate end to the Israeli military assaults on Gaza.
"Our firm position is that we cannot waste more
time," Moussa told reporters.
According to Arab diplomats, an immediate end to the
conflict, the lifting of Israeli embargo against Gaza and the opening of
crossings are key elements that should be included in the draft resolution to be
voted by the Security Council.
The United States, one of the five permanent members
of the Security Council with the power of veto, has dropped its strong objection
to a binding UN Security Council resolution on the Gaza conflict, diplomatic
UN official calls for immediate access for
foreign journalists into Gaza
UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- The chief of
communications and public information for the United Nations on Thursday called
on Israel to ensure immediate access for international media into Gaza,
stressing the need for "full and independent" coverage of events unfolding in
the territory which has been the target of an Israeli offensive launched nearly
two weeks ago.
"Access to objective and factual information is
of vital importance at all times, and plays a particularly important role in
emergency situations," Kiyo Akasaka, UN under-secretary-general for
communications and public information, writes in a letter to the Israeli
ambassador to the United Nations, Gabriela Shalev. Full story
UN chief condemns Israeli firing on UN aid
convoy in Gaza
NATIONS, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Thursday condemns
Israel's firing on UN aid convoy in Gaza and called again for an immediate
Michele Montas, the UN spokesperson, said in a statement
that "the secretary-general condemns the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) firing on a
United Nations aid convoy in Gaza, the killing of two UNRWA (the UN Relief and
Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) contract workers and the
injuring of another. " Full story
UN rights body to hold special session
GENEVA, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- The United
Nations Human Rights Council will hold a special session on Friday aimed at
addressing the human rights situation in the Gaza Strip, the UN Office at Geneva
(UNOG) said on Wednesday.
The special session is called to address "the grave violations of human
rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including the recent aggression in
the occupied Gaza Strip," UNOG said in a statement.