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Blinken Defends US Support For Israel Amid Mounting International Pressure

23.02.2024 04:57

'Everyone wants to see an end to this conflict as soon as possible,' top diplomat says, adding US is trying to reach an agreement on hostages.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken responded Thursday to criticism that the US is alone in its approach to Israel's war on Gaza, saying "we all share the same goals."

"Everyone wants to see an end to this conflict as soon as possible," Blinken said during a news conference in Brazil in response to a question on the US's isolation due to its support for Israel and the use of its veto against UN Security Council resolutions calling for a cease-fire.

"I think all of us are united in wanting to see after Gaza the path forward to a genuinely durable, sustainable peace," he said.

The US on Tuesday vetoed the latest attempt at the UN Security Council to demand an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in the besieged Gaza Strip, where the official death toll is rapidly nearing 30,000.

The draft resolution, put forward by Algeria, received widespread support in the Council with 13 of its 15 member states voting in favor. The US was the sole nation to vote against it, and as a permanent Council member, its opposition killed the resolution. The UK, another permanent member, abstained.

"That resolution would not in and of itself result in a cease-fire. The question before us is what is the most effective way to move forward in a way that gets hostages out, gets an extended humanitarian cease-fire and ultimately leads to the end of the conflict," Blinken said in explanation of the US's use of its veto.

He said the resolution was silent on hostages and the timing of it was at the moment when they were trying to reach an agreement on the hostages.

"We're focused intensely on trying to get an agreement that results in the release of the remaining hostages and that produces an extended humanitarian cease-fire. And again, those are goals that I think virtually everyone in the G20 shares," he said.

Blinken was speaking in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he is attending the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting, where he held several bilateral meetings, including with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva amid disagreements about Israel's war on the Gaza Strip.

The meeting came after Lula compared the Israeli war on Gaza to Adolf Hitler's Holocaust against the Jews, saying "what's happening in the Gaza Strip isn't a war, it's a genocide."

"We profoundly disagree," Blinken said when asked about Lula's remarks, adding it is "also something that friends do."

"We can have these disagreements, even profound disagreements on one particular issue, or I should say even an aspect of the issue and still continue all of the vital work that we're doing together," he said.

He added that there is also a "shared objective" of getting the hostages out and getting an extended humanitarian cease-fire along with more humanitarian assistance and ending the conflict. -

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