US says Algeria push for UN ceasefire resolution could hurt Gaza talks

U.N. Security Council votes to demand aid access for Gaza

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on Friday that Algeria's draft Security Council resolution calling for a Gaza ceasefire could jeopardize "sensitive negotiations" aimed at brokering a pause in Israel's war.

Algeria shared the draft with the 15-member council on Wednesday. It would demand an immediate humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. It was not immediately clear if or when Algeria could put the draft resolution to a vote.

"This draft resolution could put sensitive negotiations in jeopardy - derailing the exhaustive, ongoing diplomatic efforts to secure the release of hostages, and secure an extended pause that Palestinian civilians and aid workers so desperately need," Thomas-Greenfield told reporters.

The United States, Israel, Egypt and Qatar last week drafted a proposal for an extended pause in fighting and are awaiting a response from Hamas. The only truce so far lasted a week in late November.

"If accepted and implemented, this proposal would move all parties one step closer to creating the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities," Thomas-Greenfield said.

"The council has the obligation to ensure that any action we take in the coming days increases pressure on Hamas to accept this proposal," she said.

Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani met with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York on Friday and briefed him on the status of the talks, said U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

The Gaza war began when fighters from the Hamas militant group that runs Gaza attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and capturing 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies. In retaliation, Israel launched a military assault on Gaza that health authorities say has killed more than 27,000 Palestinians with thousands more bodies feared lost amid the ruins.

The U.S. and Israel oppose a ceasefire, believing it would only benefit Hamas. Washington instead supports pauses in fighting to protect civilians and free hostages taken by Hamas.

Washington traditionally shields its ally Israel from U.N. action and has already twice vetoed council action since Oct. 7. But it has also abstained twice, allowing the council to adopt resolutions that aimed to boost humanitarian aid to Gaza and called for urgent and extended humanitarian pauses in fighting.

To be adopted, U.N. Security Council resolution needs at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the United States, Britain, France, China or Russia.

"We don't see that this resolution adds anything to what we already have, but we worry that the resolution will hurt what we're doing on the ground right now," Thomas-Greenfield said of Algeria's draft text.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Paul Grant and Cynthia Osterman)