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UN Calls for Monitoring Mechanism in Israel-Palestinian Conflict - 2001-12-21

The United Nations General Assembly has overwhelmingly adopted a resolution calling for an international monitoring mechanism in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

The resolution was approved by a vote of 124 to six with 25 abstentions. The resolution is similar to one that was vetoed by the United States in the U.N. Security Council last Saturday.

There is no veto in the General Assembly but its resolutions do not have the force of international law as do those approved by the Security Council.

In addition to calling for a monitoring mechanism, the Assembly resolution also emphasizes the role of the Palestinian Authority as the quote "indispensable and legitimate party for peace."

U.S. ambassador John Negroponte said the resolution is one-sided and that his nation opposed it for the same reasons the United States voted against the proposal in the Security Council. "We oppose the resolution because, among other things, it calls for a monitoring mechanism regardless of whether the parties agree on such a mechanism," he said. "Is this a realistic means of reaching our common goal? The resolution does not demand a cessation of terrorism."

Mr. Negroponte said that as the Palestinian Authority assumes its responsibilities to confront terrorism, Israel should try to create and environment in which the Palestinians can "sustain and expand their efforts."

A separate part of the Assembly resolution, condemning Israeli settlements in the occupied territory, was also adopted overwhelmingly.