United Nations
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Israel has told the UN Security Council that it opposes a planned visit by the top UN body to Judea and Samaria for a close-up look at the situation, Kuwait's ambassador said Wednesday.

Kuwait and other council members proposed the visit to the occupied territories during a meeting last week on Israel's decision to end the international observer force in Hevron.

During a closed-door meeting on Wednesday, the council president briefed members on talks held with Israel and the Palestinian Authority on the proposal for a visit.

"He said Israel categorically refused the council visit," Kuwait's Ambassador Mansour al-Otaibi told reporters after the meeting.

"They don't want to receive a visit by the Security Council" even though they are prepared to welcome delegations from countries on the council, he added.

"We expressed our regret that this visit will not take place because it has been raised many times by the council."

The Israeli mission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The visit would have come at a tumultuous time: Israel is headed for elections in April and the United States is reportedly putting the finishing touches to its much-awaited peace proposals.

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