NEW DELHI (Feb. 19)
Israel today challenged the nominating and elective procedures employed at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) that have so far kept it off all the various working groups and committees set up at the international gathering. UNCTAD, now in its third week here, is supposed to devise means for advancing the industry and economy of underdeveloped nations.
Ambassador Michael Comay, floor chairman of the Israeli delegation, said that the Conference rules were contravened when the group that has been directing the electoral machinery barred certain developing countries from its deliberations. He said Israel was never consulted about the composition of that group, as required by UNCTAD rules and accused its members of discrimination. He added that the group, known as 77-S, has no official status as a United Nations body and therefore is not qualified to pass on nominations or to serve as part of the electoral machinery. A similar protest was filed by the Cuban delegation.
India’s Minister of Commerce, Dinesh Singh, the presiding officer, said that working group meetings would hereafter be open to all countries including those not nominated to membership on them. It is believed that Soviet support of the Cuban protest will strengthen Israel’s position and assure its participation in all meetings on an equal basis with other sovereign states.
In an earlier development today, Ambassador Comay hit back at the Soviet delegation which used the Conference last week as a forum to denounce Israeli “aggression” and to demand Israel’s withdrawal from occupied Arab territories. The Russians, echoed by the Jordanian delegation, blamed Israel for causing serious economic dislocation and political stress in the Middle East.
Ambassador Comay said it was not helpful to inject political issues into a conference devoted to trade and development. He suggested that if the Soviet Union wishes to play a constructive role it should use its influence to bring about a peace settlement in the area for which it professes great concern. He reminded the conference that the U.N. Security Council and the General Assembly had firmly rejected every attempt by the Soviet Union to blame Israel for starting the Middle East war last June. Several Arab and African delegations walked out when Mr. Comay spoke in exercise of his right to reply.
A program to stimulate the flow of private capital into underdeveloped nations, proposed by David Horowitz, Governor of the Bank of Israel and a leader of the Israeli delegation, was supported today by Ghana and Ecuador. Ambassador K.B. Asante, head of the Ghanaian delegation, said that in his view the Horowitz plan “would bring mighty reserves of private capital to the rescue of international aid programs” and would help break down the barrier of high interest rates and short term payments.
Mr. Horowitz proposed his plan last week in a speech urging a global economic policy aimed at the rapid expansion of farming and food production to meet the threat of famine in underdeveloped parts of the world. “The problem of capital supply is a crucial one for those parts of the world that are still in the process of developing,” he said. He noted that some $10 billion of potential transfer capital is idle that otherwise would help underdeveloped areas, especially in times of recession, and would also ease the violent fluctuations between boom and depression that affect industrialized nations.