U.S. vetoes resolution condemning Israel for killings

Saturday, December 21, 2002

UNITED NATIONS -- The United States vetoed an Arab-backed resolution Friday that would have condemned Israel for the recent killings of three U.N. workers, calling it one-sided.

Twelve other council members -- including close U.S. ally Britain -- voted in favor of the resolution, and two abstained.

The resolution expressed "grave concern" at the killings by Israeli troops and demanded that Israel "refrain from the excessive and disproportionate use of force in the Occupied Palestinian territories." It also demanded that Israel comply fully with its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention, which deals with the protection of civilians in time of war.

But the veto by the United States -- one of five permanent council members with veto power -- means that the resolution was not adopted.

Syria's U.N. Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe, the only Arab member of the council, rejected U.S. attempts to amend the resolution to eliminate the reference to Israel's disproportionate use of force. It also dropped the demand for Israel to comply with the Fourth Geneva Convention.

U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte earlier called the Syrian draft a "one-sided" resolution "heaping criticism on one party."

Bulgaria and Cameroon abstained in Friday's vote.

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