Gromyko Reiterates Russian Demand for Israeli Withdrawal from Occupied Territories

Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko declared in an address to the United Nations General Assembly today that Israel must withdraw immediately from occupied Arab territories. He commented on the Middle East situation in a lengthy statement devoted mainly to the defense of the Soviet and Warsaw bloc invasion of Czechoslovakia and to Soviet proposals for halting the nuclear arms race as well as for general disarmament.

Mr. Gromyko’s Middle East statement constituted a reiteration of current Soviet policy, which blames Israeli “aggression” for continued tensions in the Middle East. He made no new proposals. He charged that the 1967 “aggression” by Israel had not been eliminated and that responsibility rested “with those who refuse to comply” with the Nov. 22, 1967 Security Council resolution on Middle East peace. The Soviets interpret that resolution as requiring Israeli withdrawal as the first step.

Mr. Gromyko made a routine reference to Israel’s “expansionist policy” and declared that the Arab states had “repeatedly confirmed” their consent to comply with the November, 1967 resolution. He said it was “known” that Egypt had proposed a schedule for coordinated measures to settle the Middle East conflict but he offered no details. He added that “we support and are ready to assist” in the implementation of Egypt’s “realistic proposal,” adding that Moscow “condemns the position of Israel and those who connive with its belligerence.” Mr. Gromyko asserted that there were “possibilities to turn toward peace,” to “an end of the state of war, and the insuring of the sovereignty, integrity and political independence of each state and its right to live in peace.” However, he insisted, the first step must be for Israel “to give up its attempt to retain the occupied territory.” Otherwise, he added. “Israel will have to account for a great deal.”

RUSK REAFFIRMS AMERICAN SUPPORT FOR PEACE MISSION OF GUNNAR V. JARRING

Addressing the General Assembly yesterday, Secretary of State Dean Rusk said that the 1967 cease-fire was in “serious jeopardy” and that “the chasm between the parties remains wide and the hope for a just and lasting peace hangs in precarious balance.” He reaffirmed complete support for the Nov. 22 resolution and said “we will do everything we can to help Ambassador Jarring and the parties to achieve its purpose. Today a small and precious momentum toward peace appears to exist in the diplomacy of the Middle East. Ambassador Jarring and many Foreign Ministers are present here at this General Assembly. All of us should seize this opportunity to encourage the parties to move resolutely toward a settlement,” Mr. Rusk declared.

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