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On Gaza, Russia Asks Meeting of Quartet, Member of Which "Blocks" SC Statement

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 19 -- After the Gaza consultations called at noon by Russia in the UN Security Council ended, Russian Permanent Representative Vitaly Churkin came out to explain.

  He slammed "one member" of the Council for saying it will not agree to the draft press statement Morocco introduced "as early as Thursday night." He said that the country, which is clearly the United States, justified its position as an attempt not to undermine moves in the region to de-escalate the situation.

  Churkin questioned how the Moroccan draft press statement could undermine such efforts, adding that Russia might introduce a Security Council resolution, and wants a ministerial meeting of the Quartet.

  Inner City Press asked Churkin, if the same country blocking the press statement is a member of the Quarter, what could the Quarter accomplish?

  Churkin replied that the Quarter shouldn't have been inactive so long, that its inaction may have contributed to the situation. He said that another Council member arrived Monday with mere oral amendments to the Moroccan draft. He called this a "laid-back approach."

  Germany's Permanent Representative Peter Wittig, when he left the Council, emphasized that any statement should also call for stopping the rockets from Gaza. He said that his country has proposed amendments to the Moroccan draft. It is not known, yet, if these were in writing or merely oral.

  After the Security Council finishes it pre-scheduled debate on piracy, around 6 pm on Monday, Churkin said the Council will have consultations again on the Moroccan draft. Watch this site.

A fast transcript of Amb. Churkin's stakeout, by a friend on Inner City Press:

Inner City Press: the country [you seem to be mentioning] is part of Quartet, how would the dynamic be different there?

Amb. Churkin: Well, we have proposed-- Minister Lavrov, as you probably know, has proposed that there be an urgent meeting of the Quartet at the Ministerial level. We believe that it is a mistake that the Quartet has been inactive for such a long time. Frankly, it may well me that lack of international activity and lack of activity from the Quartet contributed to this atmosphere if instability which allowed the current dramatic situation to come about, so in order to reverse the sort of current military trend in the region in the relations between Israel and the Palestinians, Palestinians especially living in Gaza, we believe that diplomatic efforts need to be intensified.

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