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On Gaza, Mansour Tells ICP No Deal Yet on Any Draft, State Vote Preparations

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, November 16 -- Amid news from Gaza, the UN Security Council in New York was silent, closed tight after a 3 pm meeting about Abyei and Sudan. Two Permanent Representatives told Inner City Press of pending "product" -- that is, draft proposals -- about Gaza.

   A well placed mission said it was "old language from the December [28] 2008 press statement on Gaza" but that it is "not flying." Inner City Press set out to figure out the state of play.

   Inner City Press spoke exclusively with Palestine's Permanent Observer Riyad Mansour and asked him if there is, in fact, an Arab draft resolution or statement being proposed to the full Security Council.

   Mansour told Inner City Press, "We are working on that, you know, so far a deal has not been reached, unfortunately."

   He said, "the Israelis have decided to expand the operation, including a limited land operation, I don't know what that means, and expanded aerial bombardment."

   At least one live-stream from Gaza was reporting both the "capture" of an Israeli - this was not picked up in other media, at least not yet -- and a lull in aerial bombing, which it said could be the calm before a storm.

  Mansour told Inner City Press, "There might be a meeting for the Arab council Ambassadors either tonight or tomorrow. The foreign ministers meet tomorrow win Cairo and we'll see."

   Inner City Press was aware of a meeting between Palestine and General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic, whose proposal for increased UN funding for that Office Inner City Press covered earlier on Friday.

  Of this meeting, Mansour told Inner City Press, "With the President we informed him of this development... You know the S-G [Ban Ki-moon] is going to the region... We talked with him about preparations for November 29."

  This last "he" referred, it seems clear, to Vuk Jeremic. The 29th is the day set for a vote on Palestine's draft resolution to become a non-member State of the UN. Watch this site.

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