Special Parliament session on Gaza Monday

Putra Jaya: The Cabinet has agreed that Parliament hold a special session on the Gaza onslaught next Monday, said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

He said the special session would be held in the morning.

The Government as well as opposition Members of Parliament had been reported condemning the Israeli aggression and called for a ceasefire and an end to the crisis which began on Dec 27.

The Government had also called for an Emergency Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly to address the issue.

Rais said Malaysia would proceed with its initiative to call for the meeting if the United Nations Security Council failed to resolve the crisis within the next 48 hours.

Rais was speaking after attending a delegation meeting between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Syrian Prime Minister Mohammed Naji Otri at the Prime Minister's Office, here.

The Foreign Minister said the UN emergency special session could be convened if the majority of the 192 member countries agreed to do so.

"It doesn't need two-thirds majority. The UN clause stated a majority only," he said.

Rais explained that the Security Council could not veto the emergency special session because its council members could only veto decision made within its framework only.

However, he cautioned that the United States might use its influence so that the emergency special session could not take place.

Another obstacle, Rais said, was that any matter related to war must be addressed by the Security Council first and could only be brought to the General Assembly after the Council had exhausted all avenues.

Malaysia, he said, did not give up its hope for the emergency special session to be convened. "It is better than we just sit down and do nothing," he added.

On another matter, Rais said the Syrian Prime Minister, who is on a four-day official visit to Malaysia beginning yesterday, had decided to extend the visit by another one and a half day to visit Melaka or probably Iskandar, Johor.

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