UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Oct. 7)
French Foreign Minister Michel Debre told the United Nations General Assembly today that in France’s view “a direct negotiation between the Israeli Government and each of the Arab governments did not appear to stand the slightest chance.” He said that was why his Government believed it was up to the UN to define the elements of a reasonable solution and considered the Security Council’s Middle East resolution of Nov. 22, 1967 to be a step in that direction.
M. Debre made his statement on the Middle East in the course of the general debate at the General Assembly’s 23rd session. He said that while France maintained that each of the states in the region had the right to live in security, “it did not accept…any local fait accomplish as regards the territorial boundaries and the status of citizens.” He declared that “the consequences of the 1967 unilateral action – that is, conquest by force of arms – cannot be accepted.” He referred to it as a serious infraction of international law that presented a very grave danger for the Middle East, if not for the entire world. M. Debre said that the Nov. 22 resolution seemed to him to be the basis for a realistic settlement for a fair and lasting peace and that the mission of UN envoy Gunnar V. Jarring must succeed “for it would be dangerous to allow the present situation to continue.”
Foreign Minister Ketema Yifru of Ethiopia also took the position that the Nov. 22 resolution and the Jarring mission provided the only road to Middle East peace. Speaking in the general debate. Mr. Yifru said all parties to the dispute should accept all the obligations contained in the resolution and should be ready to perform them forthwith. He said a resolution of the Middle East crisis would have to be based on the renunciation by all states of belligerency, acceptance by all of the existence of Israel as a sovereign state, a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem on the basis of past UN resolutions, and withdrawal of Israel troops from territories occupied during the Six-Day War.
Earlier in the debate, Ahmed Laraki, Foreign Minister of Morocco, took the floor to accuse Israel of pursuing “an aggressive policy against the Arab countries,” refusing to implement UN resolutions and repeatedly violating the cease-fire. In addition, he charged that “Zionist forces committed atrocities and acts of oppression” against the population of the occupied lands and accused them of “profaning the Moslem and Christian holy places” and confiscating private property. He said his government supported the resistance of the Palestinian people and considered their defense as a natural and legitimate right in the face of annexation.