UNITED NATIONS (Dec. 6)
Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban reaffirmed today his government’s reliance on the Jarring mission and negotiations as the conduits toward a Middle East peace settlement. Addressing the General Assembly as it continued the Mideast debate that began last Friday afternoon, Eban declared:
“Now that Egypt has through Ambassador (Gunnar V.) Jarring expressed its willingness to enter into a peace agreement with Israel, now that both parties have presented their basic positions, they should now pursue their negotiations in a detailed and concrete manner without prior conditions so as to cover all the points listed in their respective documents with a view to concluding a peace agreement. If Mr. Riad will reply affirmatively to this proposal then negotiations on all matters, including boundaries and withdrawal, can begin on an agreed date.”
Eban was alluding to the opening debate speech by Egyptian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad, which in the Israeli’s opinion “contained most of the fallacies and illusions which have obscured the Arab view of Israel for more than two decades.” That speech emphasized Israeli “expansionism” and insisted on total Israeli withdrawal from occupied lands. Riad declined immediate comment on Eban’s speech.
United States Deputy Ambassador Christopher H. Phillips, in a comment to the Telegraphic Agency, called it an “eloquent” restatement of “basic” positions but declined more detailed comment pending further study of the text.
EGYPT PARALYZED PEACE MOVES
The Israeli Foreign Minister charged Riad with delivering a speech “devoid of any element of humility,” and assailed the Arab attitude toward Israel by saying that in 1967 Egypt forced Israel “to meet you on the field of battle. You have since refused to meet us at the conference table. For four long years you have declined all negotiations except on condition that your own terms be accepted in advance. You have rejected the idea of a peace structure to be built freely by Israeli and Arab hands. You have put your faith in solutions imposed and inspired by the rivalries of outside powers.” Eban further declared that Egypt broadened a regional conflict by introducing a great-power military presence into the Middle East and Africa.
Continuing Eban charged that Egypt “paralyzed a peace mission by setting estimative conditions for its continuation. Your leaders have degraded the regional atmosphere by repeated threats and datelines for the clear lessons of a peace initiative springing from the heart and conscience of the African continent in which you live.”
Eban was referring to the report of a delegation of the Organization of African Unity, which emphasized a resumption of the Jarring mission. Riad “totally misrepresented the nature of Israel’s reply” to it, Eban contended, stating that Israel in fact gave “affirmative reply” to the Africans’ call for resumption of the Jarring mission, an interim Suez Canal pact, secure and recognized boundaries and other security arrangements. Israeli withdrawal and freedom of navigation.
“The memorandum of the African heads of state hears witness to the spirit of good will which they encountered in their mission,” Eban said.” It offers no basis at all for the General Assembly to act in the obsolete spirit of acrimony which Mr. Riad suggested here.” The Israeli diplomat further scored Egypt by noting that “In this age governments which seriously seek peace do not hesitate to confer directly with those whom they do not recognize and with whom they have no legal relations.”
WITHDRAWAL CONTINGENT ON SETTLEMENT
In a reference to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s threat of war, Eban said that “while Israel was clarifying, with understandable care, the circumstances under which this (canal) negotiation might take place, the Egyptian government at the highest level of responsibility announced that it could not take place at all.” Eban declared: “The line to be held by Israeli forces in accordance with a Suez Canal agreement would not be considered final. When agreement on a final boundary was reached in the framework of the peace settlement, Israeli forces would withdraw to it. Could anything be more moderate or affirmative than this?”
Eban also criticized the “widely diffused international legend which asserts that in February 1971 Egypt made a positive response to a memorandum of Ambassador Jarring, while Israel made a negative response or none at all.” Israel’s response, he said, was “in full accord” with the UN Charter and Resolution 242, while Egypt responded “not with a straightforward acceptance but with a counter-proposal.” Eban asserted: “Let the Jarring mission be freed from the trammels which have impeded its work for 10 months. Let there be an end to the futile exercise of trying to achieve ahead of the negotiation those things which only the negotiation itself can settle and resolve.”