Manescu Reiterates Support for Direct Israel-arab Talks for Settlement

Corneliu Manescu, president of the United Nations General Assembly and Rumanian Foreign Minister, reiterated today at a press luncheon here that he favored direct negotiations between Israel and the Arab states as a means to achieve a settlement of the Middle East crisis.

Mr. Manescu was careful to note, in reply to a question on the subject, that his answer was given as Rumanian Foreign Minister and not in his capacity as Assembly president. He said that “we have to be realistic and take into account the sovereignty and rights of existence of every country in the region.” Rumania is the only Communist bloc nation which did not break relations with Israel as a consequence of the Six-Day June war and the only one to publicly support the principle of direct talks.

He added that the Security Council should be allowed more time for consultations on a Middle East resolution before sending the matter back to the Assembly. Behind-the-scenes talks in the Security Council have been underway since October 13 in an effort to reach agreement on a resolution on sending a special UN representative to the Middle East. Disagreement persists on the mandate to be given such a representative.

Diplomats at the United Nations meanwhile interpreted Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol’s speech in the Knesset (Parliament) yesterday as indicating a further hardening of Israel’s stand. They indicated they saw little likelihood that the Security Council would be reconvened on the Middle East deadlock. The ten non-permanent members of the Council scheduled another meeting today to try to work out an acceptable resolution but most observers here felt that no agreement would be reached on a resolution and that the whole issue would be handed back to the Assembly next week.

NEXT STORY