Concern Expressed over U.S. Abstention in General Assembly Vote on Mideast

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said today that US abstention in Monday night’s crucial vote in the United Nations General Assembly has made more difficult the opening of negotiations between Israel and Egypt and may have materially affected Israel’s negotiating position. The 79-7 vote, in which the US was among 36 abstaining nations, was on an Egyptian-supported resolution calling on Israel to return to its pre-June, 1967 borders. In a statement on behalf of the Conference, Dr. William A. Wexler, its chairman, said the US action was “a cause for deep concern.”

He called on the Nixon administration to “state its clear support for the opening of direct negotiations between Israel and Egypt without demanding of either party that they accept positions which are the appropriate subject of the negotiations themselves.” Wexler observed that the American abstention “might be misinterpreted by Egypt, leading President Sadat to assume support for his announced military adventures.”

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