Rice heading to UN for emergency meeting on Gaza

January 7th, 2009 - 3:39 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 7 (DPA) US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is heading to New York Tuesday to attend an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on the conflict in the Gaza Strip.Rice will push for a three-point ceasefire that would include a halt to Hamas rocket attacks against Israel, the opening of crossings into the isolated enclave and address tunnels used by Hamas to smuggle weapons into Gaza.

The United States refuses to back an immediate ceasefire that does not address those three issues, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

“We would like to see the violence end today,” McCormack said. “But we also want to see it end in a way that is sustainable and durable.”

Rice will likely hold separate meetings with her counterparts from other countries and with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, he said.

More than a week of fighting has left over 580 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip dead. Israel launched the massive assault Dec 27 in response to Hamas rocket attacks.

Israel has faced increasing international calls for an immediate cessation of the offensive, but the US does not view a temporary end to hostilities as a long-term solution to the conflict.

US President George W. Bush has blamed Hamas and maintained that Israel has a right to defend itself. Bush was meeting with UN Secretary Gerneral Ban Ki-moon at the White House Tuesday. Ban was to return to New York for the Security Council’s closed door session.

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