No agreement on Gaza in Security Council meeting

January 4th, 2009 - 1:04 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Jan 4 (Xinhua) No agreement was reached among the members of the UN Security Council after discussions on the Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip, the president of the council said late Saturday.”There was no formal agreement among the members of the Security Council,” said Jean-Maurice Ripert, France’s UN ambassador who holds the council presidency for January.

Ripert was speaking to reporters after the 15-member council held a closed-door emergency meeting after Israeli troops entered Gaza.

However, Ripert said he noted that some council members had a strong desire to have a statement adopted by the council to call for “an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza and southern Israel”.

During the closed-door consultations, some council members also voiced deep concern at the escalation of clashes and the humanitarian situation in Gaza, asking Israel to take measures to ensure that humanitarian supplies be shipped to people in need in Gaza.

The Council meeting was convened at the request of Libya, the only Arab nation in the 15-member UN body.

Earlier in the day, Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian observer to the UN, called for the UN Security Council to adopt a strong measure asking Israel to stop its offensive.

“We expressed a strong desire for the Security Council tonight to send a very strong message by adopting a presidential statement that would request or demand from Israel an immediate ceasefire,” he said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, shocked by the Israeli military move, has also conveyed his “extreme concern and disappointment” to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

More than 450 Palestinians have been killed and 2,300 others injured since Israel began airstrikes on Gaza Dec 27, 2008.

Meanwhile, Israeli infantry and armour, backed by air support, moved into the north of the territory after an artillery barrage lasting for hours between late Saturday and early Sunday.

Though early casualty reports were sketchy, it has been estimated that more than 430 people have been killed so far.

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