US is engaging in high-level diplomacy to avoid vetoing a UN resolution on critical aid for Gaza

The United States, key allies and Arab nations engaged in high-level diplomacy in hopes of avoiding another U.S. veto of a new U.N. resolution on desperately needed aid to Gaza ahead of a long-delayed vote now scheduled for Thursday morning.

The U.S. has been struggling to change the text’s references to a cessation of hostilities in the Israel-Hamas war. Another sticking point is the inspection of aid trucks into Gaza to ensure they are only carrying humanitarian goods. The current draft proposes a U.N. role, an idea Israel is likely to oppose.

U.S. President Joe Biden told reporters on his way back from Milwaukee, Wisconsin late Wednesday afternoon that “we’re negotiating right now at the U.N. the contours of a resolution that we may be able to agree to.”

Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh of the United Arab Emirates, which sponsored the Arab-backed resolution, said earlier that high-level discussions are underway to try to reach agreement on a text that can be adopted.

“Everyone wants to see a resolution that has impact and that is implementable on the ground,” she told reporters after the 15 council members held closed consultations early Wednesday afternoon and agreed to the delay. “We believe today, giving a little bit of space for additional diplomacy, could yield positive results.”

The vote — initially postponed from Monday and then pushed back to Tuesday and then Wednesday — is now expected on Thursday morning, said Ecuador’s U.N. Ambassador José Javier De La Gasca López-Domínguez, the current Security Council president.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive diplomacy, said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken would speak with his Egyptian and UAE counterparts to try to reach a consensus either late Wednesday or early Thursday.

As part of the U.S. push at the U.N., Blinken spoke Wednesday with the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom and stressed the need for urgent humanitarian aid to Gaza, “the imperative of minimizing civilian casualties,” and preventing further escalation of the conflict and ”underscored the U.S. commitment to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said.