"Never believe anything until it's been officially denied"
US (officially) denies Olmert influenced UN vote
The US has denied that a telephone call made by Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, to George Bush, the US president, led to the US abstaining in a UN vote on the Gaza war last week.
In a speech late on Monday, Olmert said Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, was left "pretty shamed" at the vote and had to abstain on a resolution she had helped arrange.
Sean McCormack, a US state department spokesmen, who was with Rice at the UN last week during debate on the security council resolution, said the remarks were "just 100 per cent, totally, completely untrue".
McCormack said that Washington had no plans to seek clarification from Israel.
Mark Regev, a spokesman for Ehud Olmert, said the Israeli leader stood by his remarks.
The Israeli prime minister said on Monday that he demanded to talk to Bush last Thursday, minutes before a vote in the UN Security Council on a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
"When we saw that Rice, for reasons we did not really understand, wanted to vote in favour of the resolution ... I looked for President Bush," Olmert said.
Bush, who Olmert said was taken off a stage in Philadelphia where he was making a speech, said he was not informed on the resolution and was "not familiar with the phrasing".
"I'm familiar with it. You can't vote in favour." Olmert claimed telling the US president.
"He [Bush] gave an order to the secretary of state and she did not vote in favour of it, a resolution she cooked up, phrased, organised and manoeuvred for," Olmert said.
Bush was in Philadelphia on Thursday morning and gave a 27-minute speech on education policy that ended about 10 hours before the UN vote and there was no interruption of the public event.
The Israeli prime minister described Bush as an "unparalleled friend" of Israel.
Fourteen of the security council's 15 members supported the legally binding resolution, which has until now failed to stop Israel's offensive in Gaza.
Olmert criticised the UN resolution, saying that "no decision, present or future, will deny us our basic right to defend the residents of Israel".
Israel launched its offensive on December 27, in what it said was an attempt to stop Hamas firing rockets into southern Israel from Gaza.
After an intensive air campaign in the first week, Israel sent ground forces into Gaza in the second week of fighting and continues to push deeper into the strip.
Tags: US, denies, Olmert, influenced, UN, vote, telephone, Gaza, strip, palestine, palestinian, war, call, made, pretty, shamed, Condoleezza, Rice, abstaining, George, Bush, Ehud, Israeli, prime, minister
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