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On Gaza, As Russia Cites 3 Opponents of Morocco Statement, Threatens 3 pm Vote

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 19 -- After the 6 pm Gaza consultations called on press statement pitched by Morocco since last Thursday night, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin came out first. He said "one, two or three countries" have issues with the press statement, but that it will be "under silence" procedure until 9 am on Tuesday.

  He said if the press statement is not agreed to, he will call a 3 pm Tuesday vote on Russia's draft resolution on Gaza, which Inner City Press obtained and put online before 5 on Monday.

  But when Moroccan Ambassador Loulichki and Palestine's Observer Riyad Mansour spoke later at the stakeout, their message was that if the press statement couldn't be agreed, they would call for an "open public meeting" of the Security Council. They said the focus is on the Moroccan press statement.

  Now, which are the three countries raising questions? Sources tell Inner City Press they are the United States, the UK and Germany. But one of these alluded to a common European position -- and there are four Europeans on the Security Council, what with France and Portugal.

  Mansour said Palestine is going forward with the November 29 vote for Observer State status. He said that in a mere hour on Monday, the resolution picked up 30 sponsors, and predicted "over 100" by the end of Tuesday. Watch this site.

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