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Little Chance For UN Resolution on Mideast Monitors - 2001-08-24


After a closed session of the United Nations Security Council Thursday afternoon it appeared there is no chance that a Palestinian-backed resolution on Middle East violence will be adopted.

After about an hour of closed-door discussions, diplomats say that the resolution seems to be dead. The Palestinian Observer Mission had wanted a resolution that, among other things, would establish an international "monitoring mechanism" to help Israel and the Palestinians work for peace.

The United States says the proposed resolution is unbalanced and the United States supports Israel's opposition to international monitors. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, U.S. representative James Cunningham indicated that, if necessary, the United States would veto the resolution. "We will oppose a resolution by whatever means we have to," he said.

Other diplomats said that, at this point, the proposed resolution does not even have enough votes to trigger a U.S. veto.

Britain and Norway are proposing an alternative to a resolution in the form of an official statement by the president of the Security Council. The draft statement criticizes both Israel and the Palestinians.

But the head of the Palestine Observer Mission at the United Nations, Nasser Al-Kidwa told reporters a presidential statement is not sufficient. "We do not think this is the appropriate vehicle for action by the Security Council," he said. "This is too little, too late. It will not be received positively by our people. Moreover we do not think a reasonable text is achievable."

Mr. Al-Kidwa said the Palestinian-backed resolution should have been seriously discussed by all members of the Council, including the United States.

Further talks will be held but Security Council President Alfonso Valdiviezo of Colombia said it is possible there will be no resolution and no presidential statement.