News World World on edge over Ukraine, Gaza conflicts

World on edge over Ukraine, Gaza conflicts

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The United Nations Security Council has voted in favour of Australia’s resolution to condemn the downing of the Malaysia Airlines passenger flight MH17.

The resolution also called for those responsible to be held accountable and that armed groups not compromise the integrity of the crash site. which is located in pro-Russian separatist territory.

Russia had the opportunity to veto the resolution at the security council, but chose to support it.

The international community has been talking tough against Russia, which has been accused of supporting the militants accused of shooting down the aircraft. Russia denies any involvement in the incident.

European Union foreign ministers are due to meet on Tuesday (local time) and could announce more sanctions against Moscow.

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Britain is pushing for tougher measures, and Italy said it expected a “strong and unified response”.

But the most the EU is expected to do on Tuesday is to speed up implementation of sanctions against individuals, and possibly companies, agreed in-principle last week before the plane was brought down.

In a televised speech, Ukranian prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said he hoped bodies of the 298 killed in the attack could be repatriated to Amsterdam.

He said 251 of the bodies recovered so far had already been relocated onto a refrigerated train in Torez, 15 kilometres away from the crash site.

Dutch forensic experts have been allowed in to examine the bodies of the victims.

Mr Yatsenyuk complained of an impasse as the pro-Russian rebels in control of the area were not allowing the train to leave, however the train left Torez destined for the Ukrainian controlled city of Kharkiv, where they will be flown to Amsterdam for forensic examination.

UN calls for ‘immediate truce’ in Gaza

World efforts to broker a ceasefire in war-torn Gaza have gathered pace as Israel presses a blistering 14-day assault on the enclave, pushing the Palestinian death toll to 548.

As Washington and the United Nations demanded an “immediate ceasefire” in the battered Palestinian enclave, there was no let up in the Israeli offensive with another 31 Gazans killed in a series of strikes.

And Israel said troops killed 10 Hamas militants after they sneaked over the border through a network of tunnels that the army has been trying to destroy in an intensive four-day ground operation.

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With growing concern over the number of civilian deaths, UN chief Ban Ki-moon arrived in Cairo for top-level talks on ending the hostilities, with US Secretary of State John Kerry also expected to fly in later on Monday.

Smoke rises from East Gaza after Israeli shelling. Photo: Getty

As the diplomatic efforts gathered steam, hundreds of people could be seen flooding out of the northern town of Beit Hanun, a day after many thousands fled an intensive Israeli bombardment of the eastern Gaza City district of Shejaiya.

Meanwhile, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas held talks in Doha, pledging in their first meeting since the launch of Israel’s assault to work together for a ceasefire and to lift the blockade, officials said.

Hamas has so far rejected truce calls, insisting Israel meet a series of conditions before halting its fire – including an end to the eight-year blockade on Gaza and the release of scores of prisoners from Israeli jails.

Despite rising concern over the number of civilian casualties, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Hamas of using innocent civilians “as human shields” and insisted the military operation had “very strong support” from the international community.

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