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Archive for Wednesday, October 15, 2003

U.S. vetoes resolution condemning Israeli security wall

October 15, 2003

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— The United States on Tuesday vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have condemned Israel for building a barrier that cuts into the West Bank.

The American veto came after the United States suggested an alternate draft that would have called on all parties in the Middle East work to dismantle terrorist groups. But Syria, which had introduced the draft, went ahead with the vote anyway.

The United States was the only country to vote against, using its veto as one of five permanent members of the council.

U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte said the resolution "was unbalanced" and "did not further the goals of peace and security in the region."

The vote came after a fierce daylong open debate that saw several of about 40 countries that spoke portray the wall as racist and colonialist, and an overreaction that would turn some areas into "open-air prisons."

Syria's U.N. Ambassador Fayssal Mekdad, whose country is the only Arab nation on the 15-member council, introduced the draft resolution Thursday on behalf of the 22-member Arab League.

The request for Security Council action came a week after the Israeli Cabinet approved an extension of the barrier that would sweep around Jewish settlements deep in the West Bank.

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