The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday again delayed a highly anticipated vote on a resolution calling for a halt in fighting in the war in Gaza and a major increase in aid deliveries. The delay was at the request of the United States to allow more time for negotiations, according to diplomats.
The Council moved into closed consultations around noon, when the vote was originally scheduled, to continue discussions. Diplomats on the Council said they were growing frustrated with the United States’s repeated requests for delays and that it appeared unlikely that Washington would ultimately allow the resolution to pass.
It was the second time in two days a vote on the resolution had been delayed at the last minute to allow for more closed-door negotiations aimed at finding a formula the United States and Israel will accept. A major sticking point has been the question of whether the United Nations should take over from Israel the inspection of shipments of food, water, fuel and other aid going into Gaza, diplomats say.
The American secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, said at a news conference in Washington that the White House’s goal was to negotiate a resolution that “actually advances” efforts to deliver aid “and doesn’t do anything that could actually hurt the delivery of humanitarian assistance, or make it more complicated.”
“I hope we can get to a good place,” he said.
The resolution, put forward by the United Arab Emirates, calls for a major increase in humanitarian aid to be delivered by not just by trucks traveling overland, but on ships and aircraft.
Israel has been pressuring the United States to reject putting the U.N. in charge of inspections, because it would effectively leave Israel with no role in screening the shipments, diplomats familiar with the negotiations said.
United Arab Emirates and Egypt, which is not on the Council but whose border is used for the majority of aid deliveries, had insisted on a U.N. inspection system to streamline and speed up aid delivery, diplomats said.
The two Arab nations have argued that it is impossible to scale up the aid deliveries to the levels needed with the current system, under which aid trucks moving through the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza must first be inspected at Kerem Shalom, an Israeli town along the border with Gaza and Egypt.