Menu JTA Search

Riad Tells Assembly Israel Must Withdraw, Avoids Mentioning Eban Peace Plan

Mahmoud Riad, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, told the General Assembly today “the withdrawal of the Israeli forces from every inch of the Arab territories they have occupied, as a result of the aggression of June 5, 1967, is an obligation that belongs to the highest and most sacred category of international obligations.”

Without a single explicit mention of Israel’s nine-point program for Middle East peace given before the Assembly last Tuesday by Abba Eban, Israel’s Foreign Minister, Mr. Riad rejected the Israeli plan in toto. He delivered a lengthy address, summarizing the Middle East situation as follows:

“Israel has launched its aggression against the Arab states on the fifth of June, 1967 for the purpose of territorial expansion; the Security Council resolution of Nov. 22. 1967 affirmed that Israel must withdraw its forces from the territories it occupied. It also laid down a settlement of the various questions in the area for the realization of peace. We have declared our acceptance and readiness to implement that resolution as well as our support of the mission of the special representative of the Secretary-General, Dr. Gunnar Jarring. Israel refuses to implement that resolution for it (the resolution) frustrates its ambition for territorial expansion and annexation of Arab territory.

“Israel continues to follow a policy aimed at undermining the mission of Dr. Jarring while it cloaks this policy by semantic maneuvers and deceptive statements. Israel, which had threatened world peace, when it committed its aggression in 1967, continues to insist on its aggression and its refusal to achieve peace.”

Thus the Egyptian diplomat ignored Mr. Eban’s statement before the Assembly to the effect that Israel had accepted the Nov. 22 resolution which set up the Jarring mission. Mr. Riad also ignored all the other points in the Nov. 22 resolution which, in addition to calling for Israel withdrawal, also called for freedom of Israeli navigation in international waterways and aimed at a just and lasting peace in the region.

Mr. Riad also compared Israel several times to Nazi Germany, insisting that Israel’s “expansionism” was exactly like the actions of the Hitler regime. He also declared that Egypt had proposed to Dr. Jarring that he set up a “timetable for the implementation of the Nov. 22 resolution. We have indicated to him that the setting up of such a timetable would provide the framework of time within which an provisions of the Council resolution would be implemented.”

The Egyptian’s proposal for a timetable was seen here as an indication that Egypt would be willing to discuss all the other issues in the Nov. 22 resolution but only after Israeli troop withdrawal. Mr. Riad concluded by telling the Assembly that after “every inch of the territory occupied today by the aggressive Israeli forces” had been recovered by Egypt, the Egyptian people were confident “that the forces of goodness and justice, throughout the world, will stand by us for the realization of peace based on justice.”

ISRAELIS EXPRESS DISAPPOINTMENT WITH SPEECH GIVEN BY RIAD

Israeli circles here today expressed disappointment with the speech given in the General Assembly today by Egyptian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad. “The General Assembly had hoped for an opening toward peace. Instead it was treated to another slamming of the door,” a source said. “We had looked forward with expectation to Mr. Riad’s speech hoping to find in it encouragement for efforts toward peace. Instead he rejected peace calling it ‘surrender.'” “It is clear that what Egypt suggests is a simple restoration of the conditions of hostility and vulnerability that prevailed before June. 1967 in exchange for a declaration that she accepts the Nov. 22, 1967 Security Council resolution,” a source said. “It is significant that in speaking of that resolution, Mr. Riad omitted all reference to its central provisions.”

NEXT STORY