US threatens to veto French draft UN resolution on Mideast
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The United States said Wednesday it would not support a United Nations Security Council draft resolution proposed by France calling for an Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire, saying it could undermine efforts to de-escalate the crisis.
"We've been clear and consistent that we are focused on intensive diplomatic efforts underway to bring an end to the violence and that we will not support actions that we believe undermine efforts to de-escalate," a US spokesperson at the UN told AFP.
The remarks indicated that Washington was ready to veto the French proposal if it came to a vote.
French President Emmanuel Macron and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who was in Paris for summits on Africa, agreed on the resolution in a video conference with Jordan's King Abdullah II, according to a statement late Tuesday.
The Security Council has failed to adopt a simple declaration on the conflict, with the United States, a staunch Israel ally, vetoing three prior statement drafts proposed by China, Norway and Tunisia which called for an end to the fighting.
Raising diplomatic pressure on the US, France had proposed a "short and simple" resolution calling for a halt to hostilities and access for humanitarian aid.
US President Joe Biden on Wednesday told Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he expects "significant de-escalation" during the day.
Deafening air strikes and rocket fire once more shook Gaza in the conflict that has, since May 10, claimed 219 Palestinian lives according to the Gaza health ministry and killed 12 people in Israel according to Israeli police.
"The president conveyed to the prime minister that he expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire," the White House said after a fourth phone call in a little over a week.