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U.N. Debate on Arab Refugees Nearing End; Vote on Resolutions Today

The General Assembly’s Special Political Committee, which has thus far debated the Arab refugee issue here for 17 sessions, decided today to bring the issue to a vote tomorrow. An evening session previously scheduled for tonight was called off by the group’s chairman, Yordan Tchobanov, of Bulgaria.

Two resolutions, plus an amendment to one of the drafts, are before the committee. The first resolution, presented by the United States, requests the Palestine Conciliation Commission to “intensify” its efforts toward possible implementations of a single paragraph in a long 1948 Assembly resolution.

Contrary to Arab insistence, that only one sub-clause of that 1948 document be implemented, calling for “repatriation” of the refugees to Israel and their compensation by Israel, the U.S. draft mentions also the alternatives of resettlement of the refugees and their possible integration into the general Middle East economy.

An amendment to the American resolution, introduced by Pakistan, Indonesia and Afghanistan, would “reconstitute” the Palestine Conciliation Commission by enlarging it to five members. The PCC consists now of three members–the United States, France and Africa.

The second resolution scheduled for a ballot was introduced by eight African states, six from Latin America and The Netherlands representing other West Europeans, calling upon the Arab states and Israel to open direct negotiations toward possible solution of all their disputes, including the refugee problem.

In the debate this morning, Muhammad Ngileruma, of Nigeria, whose government is not among the 15 sponsors of that resolution, called upon the Arab states and Israel to implement “all” UN resolutions dealing with their conflicts, thus implying that he favors the 15-power draft.

Another speaker today was Dr. Izzat Tannous, perpetual representative here of the Arab refugees, on whose behalf he has assailed Israel here every session for many years. His long address followed the usual Arab policy of attacking Israel and Zionism.

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