UN resolution on suspending fighting between Israel and Hamas, humanitarian aid to Gaza is ready for vote, US ambassador says

The United States is ready to vote on a United Nations Security Council resolution on Gaza after several delays, US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Thursday night.

“I just want to share with you that we have worked hard and diligently over the course of the past week with the Emiratis, with others, with Egypt, to come up with a resolution that we can support. And we do have that resolution now. We’re ready to vote on it,” she told reporters.

Thomas-Greenfield spoke after a closed-door meeting in which the UNSC again delayed a vote on the resolution, which calls for a suspension in fighting between Israel and Hamas and an increase in humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

The vote is now expected to take place on Friday. As one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, a US veto would mean the resolution would not pass.

Thomas-Greenfield didn’t share how she would vote on the measure, but said that “it will be a resolution – if the resolution is put forward as is – that we can support.”

The resolution will bring humanitarian assistance and support “the priority that Egypt has in ensuring that we put a mechanism on the ground that will support humanitarian assistance,” Thomas-Greenfield added.

The US had earlier expressed concerns over a draft resolution calling for a suspension in fighting and an increase in humanitarian assistance for Gaza, arguing that the proposal of a UN-created monitoring mechanism for aid going into the Gaza strip could slow down the delivery of critical assistance.

“The goal of this Resolution is to facilitate and help expand humanitarian assistance getting into Gaza, and we cannot lose sight of that purpose,” said Nate Evans, a spokesperson for the US Mission to the UN. “There are still serious and widespread concerns that this Resolution as drafted could actually slow down delivery of humanitarian aid by directing the UN to create an unworkable monitoring mechanism. We must ensure any Resolution helps and doesn’t hurt the situation on the ground.”

A diplomatic source previously told CNN that key issues with the negotiations over the draft included language on the “cessation of hostilities” and a call for the UN to “establish a monitoring mechanism in the Gaza Strip with the necessary personnel and equipment, under the authority of the United Nations Secretary-General.”

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said earlier Thursday that President Joe Biden had been in touch with members of his national security team and officials representing the US and the UN on discussions surrounding the resolution.

Kirby declined to weigh in on how a possible veto from the US would reflect on the Biden administration on the international stage.

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves – there isn’t a resolution to vote on right now, we’re still working with our partners up there about what that language ought to be,” he said. “It is important to us, of course, that the humanitarian situation in Gaza gets addressed. We are working harder than any other nation to actually address those concerns.”

Still, he acknowledged, proposed language tasking the UN with exclusive responsibility for inspecting the delivery of aid could be a sticking point.

“I’m not going to negotiate this language here from this podium. We’re still actively working with our UN partners about the resolution and the language itself,” he said. “Israel has had – and understandably so – has had a role in the inspection regime, a key role, a pivotal role, and we understand and respect that, and I think I’ll leave it at that.”

Previous delays this week centered on the reticence of the United States to sign onto a resolution that could be seen as a rebuke to Israel’s continuing military campaign in Gaza.

Diplomats were hopeful that changing some language could gain American support, or at least an abstention from voting, which would allow the resolution to pass.

But while the US, Israel’s strongest ally, has repeatedly condemned the Hamas attack that killed more than 1,200 people October 7, the mounting civilian death toll in Gaza from Israel’s response has prompted top US officials – including Biden – to urge Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take more meaningful steps to protect innocent lives while waging his war against Hamas.

About 20,000 Palestinians have been killed since October 7, according to the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry.

During a Security Council meeting earlier this week, Deputy Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood said civilians and journalists must still be protected and vital humanitarian aid needs to reach civilians.

Wood, who also expressed concerns about Israeli settler violence in the West Bank, did not imply how the United States would vote on the resolution.

The US has vetoed previous measures at the UN Security Council and voted against a call for a ceasefire in the larger UN General Assembly.

Last week, the wider United Nations General Assembly voted to demand an immediate ceasefire in war-torn Gaza, in a rebuke to the United States, which has repeatedly blocked ceasefire calls in the Security Council.

While the General Assembly vote is politically significant and seen as wielding moral weight, it is nonbinding, unlike a Security Council resolution.

This headline and story have been updated with additional developments.

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