15 October 2003


Vote Is 10 in Favour to 1 Against (United States),

With 4 Abstentions (Bulgaria, Cameroon, Germany, United Kingdom)



NEW YORK, 14 October (UN Headquarters) -- Due to a negative vote of the United States, a permanent member, the Security Council this evening failed to adopt a draft resolution that would have declared illegal the construction by Israel, the occupying Power, of a wall in the occupied territories departing from the armistice line of 1949.

Following today’s debate, requested by Syria, on the construction of the wall and continued Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories (see Press Release SC/7895), 10 Council members voted in favour of the draft resolution, one voted against (United States), and four members (Bulgaria, Cameroon, Germany, United Kingdom) abstained.  The draft resolution was sponsored by Guinea, Malaysia, Pakistan and Syria (document S/2003/980).

Explaining his veto after the vote, the President of the Security Council, speaking in his national capacity as the representative of the United States, said the resolution was unbalanced and did not adequately address terrorism and, in consequence, the security problem that Israel had had to face for the past years  -- which was the context of the issue at hand.  All resolutions on the Middle East should include that kind of balance.

The Permanent Observer for Palestine said the inability of the Council to take a firm stand in a matter of strategic importance, namely, the expansionist separation wall, was very alarming.  Regarding the region’s fate and the possibilities to achieve Palestinian/Israeli peace, a way had to be found to urgently redress what had happened in the framework of the United Nations system.  The members of the Council who had voted in favour of the draft resolution had voted for peace.

Israel’s representative said that, by rejecting the resolution, the Security Council had proved that it was not a rubber stamp for Palestinian whims.  The Palestinian Observer had been indignant that the nakedly biased one-sided draft resolution that failed adequately to address terrorism could not garner the support of the whole Council.  Perhaps, he should stop blaming others when his side refused to perform the one task it was required to do under all agreements -- stop terrorism. 

The meeting, which started at 10:45 p.m., was adjourned at 11 p.m.

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