Egypt reveals why UN vote on Israeli settlements was postponed

Resolution passes 14-0 and demands Israel halt activities in occupied territories claimed by the Palestinians 

Saturday 24 December 2016 18:15
President of Egypt Abdel Fattah Al Sisi addresses the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, September 20, 2016 in New York City
President of Egypt Abdel Fattah Al Sisi addresses the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, September 20, 2016 in New York City

Egypt decided to postpone its UN Security Council resolution against Israeli settlements in an attempt to avoid it being vetoed, the country's government has revealed.

The resolution demanded Israel halt settlement activities in occupied territories claimed by the Palestinians but was delayed for less than a day before the vote.

Egypt had said it would be conducting additional meetings with the Arab League to work on the wording of the resolution.

"Egypt was planning to put the draft resolution in blue, meaning it could be put to a vote as soon as 24 hours later," Ahmed Abu Zeid, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said, MENA reported.

"But Egypt has decided to withdraw the resolution to give more time to make sure that veto right would not be used against the resolution."

The 15-member Security Council voted 14 - 0 on the proposed measure on Friday, with US ambassador Samantha Power raising her hand as the lone abstention - a symbolic break with US policy in the past.

Israel has since taken diplomatic action against the countries that co-sponsored the resolution.

An Israeli official said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had turned to President-elect Donald Trump to help head off the resolution after learning the White House did not intend to veto the measure.

Mr Trump took to Facebook and Twitter to say America should veto the resolution.

“As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations,” Mr Trump said.

“This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.”

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