Eec Statement Calls for Israel’s Return to Pre-war Borders, Rights of Refugees

The six member nations of the European Economic Community (Common Market) meeting here reportedly adopted a joint policy statement on the Middle East that calls for Israel’s return to its pre-June, 1967 borders, the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their former homes and support for the Jarring peace mission. The ECC nations are France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. The final text of the statement has not been released. According to diplomatic sources France was the “dynamo” that brought the Middle East issue before the ECC in a political context. The sources said the policy statement was adopted unanimously following a full debate. It calls for Israel’s return to its old borders with only “minor adjustments approved by all concerned.”

While supporting the Security Council’s Resolution 242, the statement goes further than the resolution by suggesting the establishment of a large number of demilitarized zones on both sides of the border, in effect restricting Israel’s sovereignty in parts of the territory it held before the Six-Day War. The statement reportedly calls for full UN control over the Old City of Jerusalem and its holy places, contingent on agreement by both sides. On the refugee issue, the policy statement would give the Palestinians the option of returning to their former homes or accepting full financial compensation. It provides for the presence of UN observers to ensure that the refugees can choose their option without pressure from any side. The statement also calls for free navigation by the shipping of all nations through the Suez Canal and the Straits of Tiran.

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