October 6, 2009 / 10:25 PM / 8 years ago

Libya asks for UN council meeting over Gaza report

(Adds council expected to consult Wednesday, paragraph 2)

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Libya on Tuesday requested a meeting of the Security Council to discuss a U.N. report that accused Israel and Palestinian militants of war crimes during Israel’s offensive in Gaza, diplomats said.

Council diplomats said the 15-nation body would hold closed-door consultations on Wednesday to consider whether to accept the Libyan request for a formal debate on the issue.

An investigation ordered by the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council and led by South African jurist Richard Goldstone found that both the Israeli armed forces and Hamas militants committed war crimes in the December-January war. But it was more critical of Israel.

The Human Rights Council had been due to vote on Friday on a resolution that would have condemned Israel’s failure to cooperate with the inquiry and forwarded the report to the Security Council.

But action was postponed until March after U.S. pressure aimed at getting the peace process back on track. A Palestinian official said the Palestinian Authority had agreed to a request from the United States, European Union and Russia for a delay.

A spokesman for Libya’s U.N. mission, Ahmed Gebreel, said his country, which currently has a Security Council seat, had requested a meeting "because of the seriousness of the report and because we think it’s too long to wait until March."

Critics of the Palestinian Authority have accused President Mahmoud Abbas of letting his people down by agreeing to the postponement. A statement by the Palestinian observer mission at the United Nations said it fully supported the Libyan request for a Security Council meeting.

U.S. veto power in the Security Council effectively rules out any action or statement that is hostile to Washington’s ally Israel. (Reporting by Patrick Worsnip; Editing by Will Dunham)

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