UN Security Council anticipates key vote on Gaza aid access

Trucks loaded with humanitarian aid entered Gaza through the Rafah border crossing on Oct 21, 2023. [Xinhua]

The UN Security Council is gearing up for a crucial vote, possibly on Monday, on a draft resolution calling for the facilitation of aid access to Gaza through various routes, diplomatic sources said Sunday.

The outcome of the draft "largely depends" on the final negotiations between the United States, a key ally of Israel with veto power in the council, and the United Arab Emirates, the author of the draft text, the sources said.

The draft resolution calls for an "urgent and sustainable cessation of hostilities to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access in the Gaza Strip" and demands the "immediate and unconditional release of all hostages."

For the draft to pass in the Security Council, it requires at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes from any of the permanent members, namely the United States, France, China, Britain, and Russia.

UN officials and aid agencies have raised alarms about "a humanitarian crisis" in Gaza, including mass starvation and disease, as a vast majority of the region's 2.3 million people have been displaced during the ongoing two-month conflict.

Earlier this month, the United States vetoed a draft resolution at the Security Council demanding an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Subsequently, the UN General Assembly called for a ceasefire last week, with a significant majority voting in favor.

The United States and Israel have expressed opposition to a ceasefire, arguing it would predominantly "benefit Hamas." Instead, the United States supports "temporary pauses in combat" to protect civilians and enable the release of hostages taken by Hamas during its Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

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