UNITED NATIONS, N.Y (Dec. 11)
The United Nations Special Political Committee today approved a call by eight neutral powers for direct peace negotiations between Israel and the Arab states. The vote was 32 in favor, 13 against and 13 abstentions.
The resolution, which had been revised twice in an attempt to meet Arab objections, was opposed by the Arab states and some Asian delegations. Israel voted for it. The Soviet bloc abstained.
Immediately after the vote, Israel Ambassador Abba Eban pledged that his government would take immediate steps to open negotiations for a peace settlement. He was answered by Syrian delegate Ahmed Shukairi, who stated that the Arabs would not negotiate with Israel until the Jewish State “respected” the U.N. decisions on Palestine.
The U. N. committee then proceeded to vote on and reject two resolutions which had the support of the Arab bloc. The first was a Pakistani resolution requiring expansion of the membership of the Palestine Conciliation Commission from three to five members, and the transfer of its headquarters Jerusalem from New York. The second proposal which was turned down, was a demand made late yesterday by the Syrian delegate that the question of the rights of the Palestine Arab refugees be referred to the International Court of Justice for an opinion.
The eight power resolution called on the parties to the dispute to “enter at an early date, without prejudice to their respective rights and claims, into direct negotiations” for a settlement “bearing in mind the resolutions, as well as the principal objectives of the United Nations on the Palestine question, including the religious interests of third parties.”
EBAN SAYS RESOLUTION IS STEP TOWARDS PEACE IN MIDDLE EAST
Explaining his vote on the resolution, Mr. Eban said his delegation considered the resolution to “represent significant progress toward peace in the Middle East.” It contained “no unnecessary compulsions” in its call for “the normal method of pacific settlement between sovereign states,” he stated. While the wording of some provisions might have been more statifactory, his delegation had supported it, believing that “the central will of the United Nations” was for “a free and directly negotiated settlement.”
Israel would now, he said, “think, plan and act” to carry out its acpirations for regional peace, encouraged by the reception given to its recent efforts in that direction, outlined to this committee the other day. Israel would also seek the contacts and procedures to enable this process of negotiation to begin, said Mr. Eban. He was “hopeful of success.” He added that “the counsels of moderation and peace in the Near East have been strengthened by the action taken by this committee today.” The resolution conferred no privilege but imposed heavy obligations, he said in conclusion.
(In Tel Aviv this evening, the Foreign Ministry welcomed the Special Political Committee’s passage of the eight power resolution. “This welcome resolution will bring stability and prosperity to this part of the world,” a Ministry spokesman said.)