Reuters: China on Thursday warned the United States that its opposition to a statement condemning a deadly attack on a U.N. post in Lebanon could have a “negative impact” on U.N. talks on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. By Evelyn Leopold
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – China on Thursday warned the United States that its opposition to a statement condemning a deadly attack on a U.N. post in Lebanon could have a “negative impact” on U.N. talks on Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
The United States was blocking a U.N. Security Council statement on Israel’s attack on the outpost in southern Lebanon, despite what council diplomats called many compromises by Beijing.
But the envoys said there was some hope a policy statement would be adopted late on Thursday.
“This is a serious matter,” China’s U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya told reporters after a private meeting with the U.S. negotiators. “It is an attack on the U.N. peacekeepers.”
“If the Security Council cannot send a strong political message supporting our guys on the ground, it will be difficult for people to understand,” Wang said.
Four unarmed U.N. observers — from China, Austria, Canada and Finland — were killed on Tuesday after firing by the Israeli military at the outpost. U.N. officials said numerous calls had been made to the Israeli military and its diplomats in New York to protest repeated firing on the outpost.
Asked about the negotiations on a resolution on Iran that six nations are conducting, Wang said nearly every delegation in the council was frustrated over the U.S. position.
“Definitely this frustration will have its negative impact,” Wang said. “I believe it will affect it negatively.”
Careful not to mention the United States by name, he said reluctance by one government “definitely will affect smooth cooperation on other issues.”
U.S. Ambassador John Bolton early on Wednesday said there was no evidence Israel’s attack was deliberate, and Wang agreed to take out some phrases. But no agreement was reached.
Molly Phee, a U.S. deputy political counselor, made no comment. She was filling in for Bolton, in Washington for a Senate confirmation hearing on his nomination as U.N. ambassador.
On Iran, Germany and the permanent council members with veto power — the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China — appeared close to agreement on Tuesday on a draft resolution demanding Tehran suspend all nuclear enrichment and reprocessing work. The draft also said the council would consider sanctions if Iran did not comply.
France and other Western nations thought the council might vote by Friday. But the crisis in the Middle East appears to have delayed an informal agreement between the Western nations and Russia and China.