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US ambassador shuns UN debate on Goldstone

    The US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice has not attended the UN General Assembly
    The US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice has not attended the UN General Assembly

    The US ambassador to the UN has shunned the debate over the Goldstone Report at the meeting of the UN General Assembly.

    Ambassador Susan Rice did not attend any discussion of the report, and her deputy Alejandro Wolff listened only to the speeches from Swedish ambassador, Anders Lidén, who was representing the European Union, and that of the Israeli ambassador Gabriela Shalev.

    Egypt’s UN ambassador Magued Abdel Aziz was the first to speak at the debate, arguing for Israel to launch its own investigation into Operation Cast Lead, and claiming that Israel deliberately targeted civilians during the Gaza offensive.

    Sweden’s Mr Lidén said the EU was committed to taking the Goldstone Report seriously, and would press for action against those who had violated any human rights.

    He called for "appropriate, credible and independent investigations" into the Gaza war.

    The rules of armed conflict are part of the training of every Israeli soldier. Gabriela Shalev

    Israeli Ambassador Ms Shalev said: “"The report before you was conceived in hate and executed in sin.

    "Israel is committed to acting in accordance with international law. The rules of armed conflict are part of the training of every Israeli soldier."

    More than 40 people are due to speak during the UN debate, which is expected to run until late today.

    The majority of Arab states in the Assembly will most probably mean that the resolution is passed to the UN Security Council, the only body with operational powers.

    The Security Council may attempt to take Israel and Hamas to the International Criminal Court in the Hague if no investigations into the war take place within six months, but the US is likely to veto such a move.

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