* Russia says ready to put resolution to Security Council
* US says important not to undermine truce talks in Cairo
* 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 the
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and said other council members
were filibustering the issue.
The United States said, however, it was important that the
15-member council does not harm efforts under way in Cairo to
broker a truce between Israel and Palestinian Hamas militants in
The Security Council held heated closed-door negotiations on
a possible statement, but diplomats said a sticking point was
that the text did not mention Hamas missile attacks on Israel.
Israel said it was these attacks that prompted its major
offensive against the militants in Gaza.
Council members were consulting with their capitals on the
draft statement, which needs to be approved by consensus, but
several diplomats said it was unlikely an agreement would be
reached by a Tuesday morning deadline.
Russia's U.N. envoy Vitaly Churkin said that if the council
could not agree, he would put a resolution - a stronger move by
the council than a statement - to a vote on Tuesday to call for
an end to the violence and show support for regional and
international efforts to broker peace.
"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," Churkin said earlier in 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.
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. Some diplomats
said a vote on the Russian resolution would likely be tight and
could force a veto by the United States.
The Security Council is generally deadlocked on the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which U.N. diplomats say is due to
the United States' determination to protect its close ally
Israel. The council held an emergency meeting on Wednesday to
discuss the Israeli strikes on Gaza but took no action.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said the
United States would support a council statement if it "advances
the goal of supporting an agreed cessation (of violence)."
"We think it's vitally important that this council by its
action or non-action is reinforcing the prospects of an agreed
cessation (of violence) and not doing anything that could
undermine that prospect or run counter to it," Rice said,
referring to the truce negotiations in Cairo.
"That is our principal objective in these discussions," she
Palestinian U.N. observer, Riyad Mansour, said the council
cannot "remain on the margin."
"We emphasized the urgency of the Security Council to
shoulder its responsibility and to stop this aggression against
our people," Mansour told reporters after Monday's negotiations.
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 a statement by the
France, Germany and Britain submitted amendments to the
draft Security Council statement earlier, 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."