UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Dec. 11)
The United Nations was urged by an African representative here to “do all in its power” to find a solution to the Arab refugee problem and take “complete charge of all efforts to this end.”
The request was made by Sebastian Kapongo, delegate from the Congo (Leopoldville), the first of the representatives from an African country below the Sahara to participate in the debate on the refugee problem before the General Assembly’s Special Political Committee.
The refugee debate, which opened a week ago, had thus far heard only India and the United States aside from bitter Arab attacks against Israel. Mr. Kapongos pacifying speech came between two anti-Israeli attacks, voiced today by representatives of Iraq and Libya. Both speakers, representing countries that are members of the Arab League, voiced the now familiar attacks against Israel.
In his speech, Mr. Kapongo also took the occasion to deny charges voiced here last week by Ahmad Shukairy, of Saudi Arabia, who had alleged that Israel-made weapons have been used by the Katangese rebels fighting against the United Nations and against Congo’s central government of Leopoldville.
His government, said Mr. Kapongo, has “no proof” that Katangese rebels had used arms made in Israel. He assured the United Nations that there are “good relations” between the Congo central government and Israel. The charges that Katangese used Israel weapons he said, were “a fantasy, created to sow distrust between our governments.”
As for the Arab refugee problem, Mr. Kapongo expressed his opinion that “peaceful negotiations are the only means by which efforts to find a solution should be attempted.” A number of African members here, backed by some from Latin America and Western Europe, are known to be considering the introduction of a resolution calling for overall re-evaluation by the Assembly of all outstanding Arab-Israeli disputes, including the refugee question.
Today, Israel representative Michael Comay again clashed with the Arab speakers, exercising Israel’s right of reply successively against the Libyan and the Iraqi. Among other things, Mr. Comay once more rejected the Arab accusations, voiced several times in the past week, that he is not an Israeli but a South African. Mr. Comay, born in South Africa, has been an Israeli citizen since the birth of the Jewish State in 1948.