Israel’s Request for Direct Talks with Arabs is Premature, France Tells U.N.
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Israel’s Request for Direct Talks with Arabs is Premature, France Tells U.N.

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The attitude of the French Government toward the present postwar Arab-Israel conflict was outlined here today by Maurice Couve de Murville. French Foreign Minister, in an address before the United Nations General Assembly.

Mr. Couve de Murville told the Assembly that Israel was “disregarding” world opinion when it insisted on direct negotiations with the Arab states at this time, after 20 years of hatreds and frustrations, aggravated now by Israel’s “military successes.” But he told the Assembly it was its duty to create conditions under which these hostilities and hatreds will no longer exist.

The Israelis and the Arabs must live together, he said. However, it is not possible to impose solutions upon them against their will. “Ultimately,” he declared, “only a freely negotiated settlement, with the approval of the international community, can settle the basic questions.” He stressed that the question of freedom of passage through the Strait of Tiran must be solved through negotiations between Israel and Egypt at least “through a modus vivendi.”

He declared that France opposed any efforts to impose restitution or reparations on any of the combatants now, stating that it may be many years before reparations can be made. His mention of reparations was interpreted as opposition to the Soviet stand, which has called upon Israel to make immediate restitution to Arabs for the damages caused in the war.

The French Foreign Minister did not in any way even hint, as President Charles de Gaulle did yesterday, that Israel had started the war. He did recall to the Assembly that, on June 2, France had “publicly and solemnly” stated that it does not support either side in the Israel-Arab conflict and that “the state which first uses arms will not be supported by France.”

In a statement on the Middle East to the French Cabinet in Paris yesterday. President de Gaulle said Israel started the war. Stressing that Israel must be allowed to exist, he added: “Consequently, France disapproved the threat to destroy Israel brandished by her neighbors and reserved our position as to the mortgage placed on that state in the case of navigation in the Gulf of Akaba. But France condemns the opening of hostilities by Israel.”


Turkish Foreign Minister Ishan Sabri Caglayangil told the Assembly that Israel must evacuate the territories its forces had occupied, “In its own interests,” he stated , Israel must prove its attachment to United Nations principles and “must refrain from undertaking any further actions which would render more difficult a return to peaceful conditions. In particular, Israel must not confront the world with a fait accompli in Jerusalem.”

Belgian Foreign Minister Harmel told the Assembly that no genuine progress towards solution of the basic Middle East conflict “can be achieved without the cooperation of the belligerents themselves.” He said the “permanent members” of the Security Council– meaning the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain and France– “must act to encourage the parties to move toward the only path toward peaceful settlement.”

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