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Arabs Fail to Win U.N. Afro-asian Bloc on Sanctions Against Israel

The Arab League here failed today to stampede the entire Afro-Asian bloc into demanding an immediate General Assembly session to censure Israel and to vote sanctions against Israel for alleged failure to withdraw its troops from the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip. However, the move may meet with at least partial success by tomorrow.

For the second successive day, the Afro-Asian group was called into session this afternoon after Abdel Monem Rifai of Jordan had charged in the General Assembly that Israel has massed “huge troop concentrations” in the Tulkarm sector of the Israel-Jordan border during the past two days. Mr. Rifai told the Assembly he had instructions from his Foreign Minister to call this “fact” to the attention of the Assembly “before aggression takes place.”

Immediately after voicing this accusation, Mr. Rifai saw Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold, and was followed into Mr. Hammarskjold’s office by Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Dr. Mahmoud Fawzi. The two appeared before the Afro-Asian meeting, demanding backing for a stiff anti-Israel resolution in which the Assembly would recommend at least political and economic sanctions against Israel.

Several members of the Afro-Asian bloc–among them reportedly Japan, Thailand and Burma–were cool to any demand for an Assembly session on this subject. India was understood to favor an Assembly session, but opposed the idea of sanctions. The Afro-Asian group adjourned after a meeting of almost two hours, to meet again tomorrow morning on the same issue. It appeared likely that the bloc would agree tomorrow to call for an Assembly session to censure Israel, possibly without a call for sanctions.

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