Menu JTA Search

Yost: Truce Violations Block Peace Talks; Criticizes Afro-asian Resolution

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

The United States made it clear today that it is the Egyptian violations of the Middle East standstill that are blocking the resumption of the Jarring peace talks. Ambassador Charles W. Yost, in a vigorous contribution to the General Assembly debate on the Mideast, echoed yesterday’s assertion there by Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban that the missiles were “the sole obstacle” to peace progress. Mr. Yost submitted late this afternoon a draft resolution pointedly requiring the parties concerned to “(take) into account the obstacles and difficulties which have arisen since the cease-fire standstill agreement went into effect.” The draft also asks the Assembly to endorse Security Council Resolution 242 “in all its parts”; call on the parties to “exert their utmost efforts…to establish the confidence” necessary for the reactivation of the Jarring mission; endorse the Security Council’s 1967 cease-fire resolution (No. 233), and recommend that the current Mideast truce be extended “for at least three months.” An Israeli spokesman immediately endorsed the American measure, noting that unlike yesterday’s Afro-Asian draft, it referred to truce violations.

Bolstering Mr. Eban’s assertion. Mr. Yost declared that “it would be extremely irresponsible for the General Assembly to adopt any resolution which would appear to add to, subtract from, interpret or distort the careful balance of the Resolution (242) which was worked out by the Security Council after long and laborious negotiations.” Mr. Eban had said that such a new resolution would “undermine the agreement so arduously achieved.” Any attempt to give a particular section of Resolution 242 “special weight or primacy,” the American ambassador went on, “would endanger the solid progress that Resolution represents.” In that connection, he noted that the Afro-Asian draft contains five paragraphs relating to one part of Resolution 242–namely, occupied territories–but “only passing reference” to “a just and lasting peace” and “no reference at all to “termination of belligerency” or “sovereignty…within secure and recognized boundaries.” Mr. Yost added that the Afro-Asian call for Security Council action to enforce Resolution 242 “seems clearly intended to suggest…that it take action against Israel.” Such a resolution, he said, would pose “serious problems, both legal and political,” and would be “counter-productive.” The Assembly, he said, should “continue to act soberly and responsibly and to avoid unrealistic and unhelpful action.”

Regarding the Palestinians, Mr. Yost reaffirmed the importance of their “legitimate concerns and aspirations,” but observed that “It is not now clear what peaceful goals Palestinians set for themselves, who speaks for them, what their relationship is to established Arab governments, or if there is any consensus on the Palestinian role in a peaceful settlement.” He called on the Palestinians and the Arab governments to “work out” those matters among themselves. The U.S. representatives denied that arms aid to Israel violated the U.S. peace initiative and indicate support of “permanent Israeli retention” of occupied areas. He stressed that President Nixon has been consistently “rebuffed” by the Soviet Union in his attempts to initiate arms-reduction talks. He said U.S. weapons were being shipped to Israel “with restraint” while Soviet shipments to Egypt have been “immense.” Noting the “serious” standstill violations by Egypt, Mr. Yost stated, as have President Nixon and Mr. Eban recently, that “confidence” is the “crucial question.” The U.S. has “incontrovertible evidence.” he said, of Egyptian violations, which have “brought about a significant change in the military status quo in the (Suez) canal zone.” Pledging the U.S. to “do everything possible” to reactivate the Jarring negotiations, the ambassador urged the Assembly members to “assist rather than hinder these efforts by moderating their approaches and paying careful attention to any resolution submitted for their approval.”

NEXT STORY