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U Thant Says U.N. Presence As Third Party in Middle East is Essential

Finland, Sweden and Austria will submit a procedural resolution tomorrow morning to the special emergency session of the General Assembly when it reconvenes, requesting the regular session of the Assembly, which will open on Tuesday, to consider the Middle East situation and give it priority.

Secretary-General U Thant told a weekend press conference here that he believed that the role of the United Nations as a third party in the Arab-Israeli dispute was essential and imperative for a long time to come.

“I do not see how the United Nations can wash its hands of the Middle East situation,” he declared. He said he could understand that some of the parties would prefer direct negotiations which would be an “ideal situation.” However, he added, this was not practical under present circumstances.

The Secretary-General announced that he was not planning to visit the Middle East in the near future, and that he did not see any utility in such a visit but if it were “deemed helpful.” he would go, he said.