* Russia says ready to submit resolution to Security Council
* Some council members filibustering, says Russia
By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS, Nov 19 Russia accused the United
States on Monday of blocking a bid by the U.N. Security Council
to condemn the escalating conflict between Israel and
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and said other council members
were filibustering the issue.
Russia's U.N. envoy Vitaly Churkin said he was prepared to
introduce a resolution - a stronger move by the council than a
statement - to call for an end to the violence and show support
for regional and international efforts to broker peace.
Churkin said he would draft a resolution if agreement could
not be reached among the 15 council members on a statement,
which has to be approved by consensus. A resolution is passed
when it receives nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the five
permanent council members - Russia, China, Britain, the United
States and France.
"One member of the Security Council, I'm sure you can guess
which, indicated ... they will not be prepared to go along with
any reaction of the Security Council," said Churkin, making a
thinly veiled reference to the United States.
"Somehow, allegedly, that could hurt the current efforts
carried out by Egypt and the region," he said.
Israel launched a major offensive against Palestinian Hamas
militants in Gaza on Wednesday, killing Hamas' military
commander in an air strike and threatening an invasion of the
enclave that the Islamist group said would "open the gates of
The Security Council held an emergency meeting on the same
day to discuss Israeli strikes but took no action. The council
is generally deadlocked on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,
which U.N. diplomats say is due to the U.S. determination to
protect its close ally Israel.
Council diplomats, who did not want to be identified, said
the United States' U.N. delegation had been instructed by
Washington not to engage in consultations on Monday on a
statement on Gaza and Israel, circulated by Morocco last week.
One council diplomat said U.S. Ambassador to the United
Nations Susan Rice told the council that the United States
wanted to be sure that a council statement would not be
detrimental to mediation efforts by Egypt to end the fighting.
France, Germany and Britain submitted amendments to the
draft Security Council statement on Monday, diplomats said, but
Churkin said too many changes had been proposed.
"Unfortunately it looked like a little bit of a
filibustering attempt. Maybe I am mistaken, maybe it's just a
laid-back attitude in a situation where we cannot afford
procrastination," Churkin told reporters after consultations.
One council diplomat described the filibustering accusation
as "utter nonsense."