Closed-door meetings at UN; no consensus on Gaza ceasefire

January 9th, 2009 - 4:41 am ICT by IANS  

New York, Jan 9 (DPA) Western nations and high-ranking Arab government officials held closed-door discussions at United Nations headquarters here Thursday to try and reach a consensus on the text of a ceasefire to end the Israel-Hamas conflict.The two sides remained divided on a technical procedure: Western governments preferred a statement from the UN Security Council’s French president, while the Arab governments called for the adoption of a formal and binding resolution to end the fighting in the Gaza Strip.

The Arab delegates met in a basement room at UN headquarters in New York. The Western group - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, foreign ministers Bernard Kouchner of France and David Miliband of Britain - joined them briefly and were then seen walking out of the meeting and into another room.

Neither side talked to waiting reporters.

The stalemate continued Thursday after the 15-nation council failed to decide whether to issue a statement or vote on a draft resolution.

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