( AP ) - The U.N. Security Council, despite negotiating for much of the week, failed to reach agreement late Friday night on a statement on the safety of people along the chaotic Gaza-Egypt border.
Libya, whose ambassador holds this month's revolving council presidency, blocked a statement that would have expressed the body's "deep concern" over the issue.
"The delegation of Libya decided to refer it back to the Arab group. And they've in turn referred it back to capitals," Britain's U.N. Ambassador John Sawers said.
Until earlier Friday the United States had also been opposed, hoping to protect Israel from criticism in a statement originally proposed by Arab nations.
There is "no main sticking point for the United States anymore," the United States' Deputy U.N. Ambassador Alejandro D. Wolff told reporters. He said the U.S. had sought "a balanced statement" and expected the latest draft eventually to be approved.
In its latest version, the statement calls on all sides to talk and immediately end the violence, and would urge Israel to "minimize the impact of its actions" on the people of Gaza, including allowing humanitarian aid to reach struggling Palestinians living there. It also would condemn the daily rocket and mortar attacks against Israelis and "the terrorist rocket launches from Gaza."
The breach of the border with Egypt, led by Hamas' militant government, allowed thousands of Palestinians to break free from the Gaza Strip blockade this week. Since Wednesday, they have flooded into Egypt to shop, visit relatives and roam around.
Libya's U.N. Ambassador Giadalla Ettalhi said the statement reflects the interests of Arab nations generally, but not of Libya. "When it comes to interests, you have to care about your own stance, not the reactions of the others," he said.
The council plans to try again next week.