UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Sep. 28)
Israel’s right to freedom of navigation through the Suez Canal was upheld here today by the Foreign Minister of Peru, and denied by the Foreign Minister of Lebanon, as the General Assembly continued to listen to addresses on the Suez issue, which has become one of the explosive disputes of this year’s session.
Lebanon “firmly supports” the United Arab Republic’s position regarding Cairo’s “right” to bar Israel ships and goods from the Suez, the Assembly was told by Beirut’s Foreign Minister Rachid Karame. He maintained that the stand on behalf of freedom of navigation, voiced here now by more than a dozen leading delegates, including Israel’s Foreign Minister Golda Meir, were only “tendentious allegations.”
“The state had been created by violence and injustice,” he said, referring to Israel. He insisted that, since the UAR is “in a state of war” against Israel, it has the right “to protect its territory” by barring Israel from the Suez Canal.
Mr. Karame also told the Assembly that the Arab refugees must be given “the right to return to their homes” in Israel. “No argument to the contrary,” he said, “such as the smallness of the territory or its resources, could prevail against this right. “
A contrary view of the Suez issue was taken in a formal address by Dr. Raul Porras Barrenechea, Foreign Minister of Peru, who called Egypt’s claims of the existence of a state of war a “pretext. ” Outlining his government’s general foreign policy, Dr. Porras said:
“Among the other problems which claim the attention of the international community today is the problem relative to the situation in the Suez Canal and the means adopted by the Egyptian government, under the pretext of a state of war, to obstruct, contrary to the general principles of international law and the Constantinople Convention of 1888, free passage of ships which trade with Israel and, in addition, the passage of goods and mail directed to that nation.
“As a country devoted to law, and as a country which upholds international rights and obligations in accordance with the classic tradition of international law, the Government of Peru, which has admiration for the Government of Egypt and the Egyptian people, and enjoys old historical bonds with the Egyptian culture, desires, as the representatives of the Big Powers have already called for, re-establishment in this part of the world that old principle of freedom of the sea, which is one of the first and most important principles of international law.”