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US casts third veto of UN action since start of Israel-Hamas war

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The United States on Tuesday again vetoed a draft United Nations Security Council resolution on the Israel-Hamas war, blocking a demand for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

Algeria’s Ambassador to the United Nations Sofiane Mimouni speaks before a vote on a U.N. Security Council resolution to demand an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, at U.N. headquarters in New York, February 20, 2024. Reuters/Mike Segar

The United States on Tuesday again vetoed a draft United Nations Security Council resolution on the Israel-Hamas war, blocking a demand for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

Thirteen council members voted in favor of the Algerian-drafted text, while Britain abstained. It was the third such U.S. veto since the start of the current fighting on Oct. 7.

"A vote in favor of this draft resolution is support to the Palestinians right to life. Conversely, voting against it implies an endorsement of the brutal violence and collective punishment inflicted upon them," Algeria's U.N. Ambassador Amar Bendjama told the council before the vote.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield signaled on Saturday that the U.S. would veto the draft resolution over concerns it could jeopardize talks between the U.S., Egypt, Israel and Qatar that seek to broker a pause in the war and the release of hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

"Any action this council takes right now should help, not hinder these sensitive, and ongoing negotiations. And we believe that the resolution on the table right now would, in fact, negatively impact those negotiations," Thomas-Greenfield told the council ahead of the vote.

"Demanding an immediate, unconditional ceasefire without an agreement requiring Hamas to release the hostages will not bring about a durable peace. Instead, it could extend the fighting between Hamas and Israel," she said.

The United States has since proposed a rival draft resolution calling for a temporary ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war and opposing a major ground offensive by its ally Israel in Rafah, according to the text seen by Reuters. It said it plans to allow time for negotiations and will not rush to a vote.

Until now, Washington has been averse to the word ceasefire in any U.N. action on the Israel-Hamas war, but the U.S. text echoes language that President Joe Biden said he used last week in conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The U.S. draft resolution would see the Security Council "underscore its support for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable, based on the formula of all hostages being released, and calls for lifting all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale."

The Algerian-drafted resolution vetoed by the U.S. did not link a ceasefire to the release of hostages. It separately demanded an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols

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