*** ----> UN votes to back Gaza truce plan | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

UN votes to back Gaza truce plan

AFP | United Nations, United States 

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

The United Nations Security Council yesterday adopted a US-drafted resolution supporting a ceasefire plan in Gaza, as Washington leads an intense diplomatic campaign to push Hamas to accept the proposal.

Hamas said yesterday that it “welcomes” the United Nations Security Council vote adopting a US-drafted resolution supporting a ceasefire plan in Gaza.

The movement “welcomes the Security Council resolution ... (and) would like to reaffirm its readiness to cooperate with the brother mediators to enter into indirect negotiations regarding the implementation of these principles”, Hamas said in a statement, referring to its demands that include a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the territory.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken early yesterday held talks in Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the latest effort to halt eight months of war in the Gaza Strip.

The text - passed with 14 votes in favor and Russia abstaining - “welcomes” the truce and hostage release proposal announced on May 31 by President Joe Biden, and urges “parties to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.”

The resolution says Israel has accepted the truce plan, and “calls upon Hamas to also accept it.” Hamas said yesterday that it “welcomes” the vote.

The US, a staunch ally of Israel, has been widely criticised for having blocked several previous UN draft resolutions calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

But Biden late last month launched a new US effort to secure a truce and hostage release. “Today we voted for peace,” US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said after the UN session.

“Today this Council sent a clear message to Hamas: accept the ceasefire deal on the table. Israel has already agreed to this deal and the fighting could stop today if Hamas would do the same.”

However the deal remains uncertain as Hamas officials have insisted that any ceasefire agreement must guarantee a permanent end to the war - a demand Israel has firmly rejected, vowing to destroy Hamas and free the remaining captives.

Under the proposal, Israel would withdraw from Gaza population centers and Hamas would free the hostages.

The ceasefire would last an initial six weeks, with it extended as negotiators seek a permanent end to hostilities.

US Secretary Blinken held talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu. It is his eighth visit to the region since the war began on October 7 with Hamas’s unprecedented attack on Israel.

Blinken met for around two hours in Jerusalem with Netanyahu and discussed diplomacy towards a ceasefire, US officials said. A day later, though, Netanyahu received his first major political blow of the conflict when Benny Gantz and a second member of the war cabinet quit.