Nixon Tells UN Assembly Mideast Peace Urgent, Denounces ‘sky Piracy’

President Nixon told the United Nations General Assembly today that “substantial alterations in the map of the Middle East” cannot be conducive to peace. Recent events in the area, he said, “point up anew the urgency of a stable peace.”

He also called, in his address during the opening day of general debate, for “respect for the sovereign rights of each nation to exist within secure and recognized boundaries.”

Mr. Nixon told the 126-nation International organization that the United States was convinced that “peace cannot be achieved on the basis of anything less than a binding, irrevocable commitment by the parties to live together in peace.”

Failing a settlement, the President said, an agreement on the limitation of arms shipments might help stabilize the situation. He said that the U.S. has indicated to the Soviet Union “without results” its willingness to enter into such discussions. In this connection, in addition to talks on the Middle East, the U.S. hopes to begin talks with Soviet leaders on the limitation of strategic arms. “There is no more important task before us,” the President declared.

The President reiterated U.S. support for the Security Council’s Nov. 22, 1967 resolution as charting the path to a settlement. The UN cease-fire resolutions “define the minimal conditions that must prevail on the ground if settlement is to be achieved,” he said. “A peace, to be lasting, must leave no seeds of a future war. It must rest on a settlement which both sides have a vested interest in maintaining,” Mr. Nixon said.

He told the packed General Assembly auditorium that one of the common concerns of the international community is the securing of international air travel safety. “Sky piracy cannot be ended as long as the pirates receive asylum,” he said. This comment was taken by observers as a reference at least to Syria and Cuba.

“By any standards, aircraft hijackings are morally, politically and legally indefensible. The Tokyo Convention has now been brought into force, providing for the prompt release of passengers, crew and aircraft. Along with other nations, we also are working on a new convention for the punishment of hijackers. But neither of these conventions can be fully effective without cooperation.” the President said.

“I urge the United States to give high priority to this matter. The issue transcends polities, there is no need for it to become the subject of polemics or a focus of political differences. It involves the interests of every nation, the safety of every air traveler, and the integrity of that structure of order on which a world community depends,” the President said.

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