US to Russia: Hold Your Horses on UN Mideast Mission
US envoy questions the wisdom of Russian initiative to send a Security Council delegation to the 'fragile' region.
Gil Ronen, 10/02/11 13:42 | updated: 15:41
Israel news photo
The United States Wednesday called into question the wisdom of an initiative by Russia to send a United Nations Security Council delegation envoy to the Middle East.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin proposed the delegation, which would be the first since 1979, and said it could visit Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon.
US Ambassador Susan Rice said, however, that no agreement has been reached in this matter. "A number of delegations, including our own, asked a series of important questions, such as what is this meant to achieve? Why now? Why this itinerary? And, would it in fact have the stated intention of contributing to promoting greater peace and stability in the region at this quite fragile time?" she said, according to AFP.
"I can assure you that many council members, including us, were very clear that this is something we would have to consider very, very carefully, and consult with our capitals," she added.
British ambassador Mark Lyall Grant hinted that Russia had not given the other UNSC members time to respond to the suggestion before going public with it. "In principle we are in favor of a visit to the Middle East," he explained, "but a number of issues have been raised and they need to be teased out before we can make a decision about whether it is sensible to go ahead and the timing."