posted on WED 21 NOV 2012 2:33 PM
Consultations and Briefing on Gaza/Israel Ceasefire Agreement

This afternoon (21 November) Security Council members will meet in consultations at 3 p.m. to discuss a draft press statement on the ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel which was announced today by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. It seems the Secretary-General, who is in Tel Aviv, will brief the Council on the Gaza situation and subsequent ceasefire agreement at 3.30 p.m. via VTC.

It seems the draft press statement, circulated by the US earlier today, welcomes the ceasefire agreement, calls on the parties to uphold it, expresses support for ongoing efforts by the international community to consolidate the ceasefire and commends the role played by Morsi and the Secretary-General in reaching the agreement. The draft press statement also apparently deplores the loss of civilian lives and urges restoration of calm in full. There also seem to be references to the need for emergency aid for Gaza and quick delivery of such humanitarian assistance.

Earlier today, prior to the announcement of the ceasefire, Council members were preparing to hold a debate, requested by the Arab Group, on the Gaza situation this afternoon. However, at press time it seemed the debate had been called off. (Council members met briefly on the Gaza situation yesterday at 3 pm to discuss the possibility of holding a debate but adjourned until 6 pm anticipating the ceasefire announcement.)

Also, earlier today, Russia had called for a vote on a revised draft resolution (S/2012/855) which it had put in blue on 19 November. However, the vote on the Russian draft resolution has also been put on hold following the ceasefire announcement. The draft resolution expresses concern at the deteriorating situation and escalation of violence in Gaza and southern Israel. It also expresses support for the current mediation efforts and demands a cessation of violence and encourages the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian bilateral negotiations on the basis of the two-state solution as envisaged in resolution 1850 (2008). In addition the draft focuses on humanitarian issues and the need for humanitarian access in Gaza.

While Council members are aware of the need to quickly respond to this positive development, it is unclear whether possible additions to the draft will delay agreement. It seems some members, in particular Morocco on behalf of the Arab Group, may see value in incorporating some of the elements of the draft resolution into the draft press statement, such as references to the peace process. There may also be interest from other members in incorporating the more specific references to humanitarian issues and humanitarian access.

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