Lebanon accused the United States of blocking a Security Council statement calling for a cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah, saying the impotence of the UN's most powerful body sent the wrong signal to small countries and the Arab world.
"It's unacceptable because people are still under shelling, bombardment and destruction is going on ... And people are dying," Lebanese special envoy Nouhad Mahmoud said on Saturday.
Qatar, the only Arab nation on the council, received widespread support during closed council consultations last night for a press statement calling for an immediate cease-fire, restraint in the use of force, and the protection of civilians caught in the conflict, council diplomats said.
But Argentina's UN Ambassador Cesar Mayoral said the United States objected to any statement and Britain opposed calling for a cease-fire.
The US and Britain want to wait for the outcome of this weekend's Group of Eight meeting in Russia, an Arab League foreign ministers meeting, and a mission sent to the Middle East by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, he and other diplomats said.
France's UN Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, the current council president, confirmed "there was no agreement on a text tonight, but we will meet on Monday."
"Many delegations would have liked to have a very prompt reaction," he said. "Others think the spotlight should be elsewhere, not here in the council.