UNITED NATIONS (May. 21)
Secretary General Kurt Waldheim released today his report to the UN Security Council on the Middle East. The 64-page document, containing 41 pages of background material and observations, and 23 pages of appended documents, establishes the framework of the Security Council’s general debate on the Middle East scheduled, to begin June 4.
In it, Dr. Waldheim asserts: “Although the Security Council has in the last six years dealt with a number of different aspects of the Middle East problem, it has not considered the problem as a whole since the adoption of Resolution 242… on 22 Nov. 1967, In its forthcoming meetings, the Council will, therefore, in a sense, be taking up the consideration of the Middle East question where it left off at that time.”
The Secretary General emphasized that the UN “and in particular the Security Council, has had a major and universally recognized responsibility in relation to the Middle East question,” and that while it “has not proved able, in this very difficult situation, to bring about a just and lasting settlement,” the UN has, through its various instrumentalities set up by the Security Council and the General Assembly, “played an important role in limiting conflict and in preserving the tenuous truce which has prevailed in the area for most of the time.”
Waldheim observed that “The Security Council is, as far as I know, the only forum where all the parties to the conflict have been able to meet together in the same room,” and expressed hope “that this advantage may be used for constructive moves toward a settlement.”
WAY TO SETTLEMENT NEED NOT BE FUTILE
Waldheim stated in his report that the new efforts by the Security Council to help reach a Middle East settlement “should include a new appraisal of the possibilities and procedures of the Council itself for conciliation and an exploration of all the means by which the framework of the United Nations might be used to assist the parties in reaching a just and lasting settlement.”
“Obviously, these efforts can only be useful if the parties concerned wish to avail themselves of them,” Waldheim said, “But if that wish is present, the new effort to find a way to a settlement in the Middle East need not be futile,” he added.
He noted in a brief introduction to his report that it was being submitted in pursuance of the Security Council’s Resolution 331 of April 20, 1973 which requested the Secretary General to submit as early as possible a comprehensive report giving a full account of the efforts undertaken by the UN in the Middle East since 1967 and the activities of the Jarring mission.
ELEMENTS OF THE REPORT
The first section of the report deals with four major aspects of the Middle East situation: “Status of the cease-fire;” “Situation in the occupied territories;” “Question of Jerusalem;” and the “Palestine refugee problem.”
Waldheim found that the UN truce observation teams “proved to be useful as an independent and impartial source of information” on the cease-fire situation despite certain shortcomings” including the fact that they have no enforcement power and are able to observe only those violations that occur along the borders on which they are stationed.
Dealing with the situation in the occupied territories, Waldheim referred to adamancy on the part of Israel and the Arab states which prevented UN agencies from carrying out on-the-spot investigations of conditions in those territories. He mentioned Israel’s insistence that such investigations be extended to include the situation of Jewish communities in the Arab states and the Arabs’ unqualified opposition to such extension.
The report detailed over several pages resolutions adopted by the General Assembly during the last six years enjoining Israel from undertaking policies and practices affecting the inhabitants of the administered territories and altering the status of Jerusalem. It noted that Israel had in no instance complied.
Regarding the Palestine refugee problem, Waldheim wrote: “When considering the refugee problem, the General Assembly has repeatedly noted with regret that the repatriation or compensation of the refugees. has not been effected, that no substantial progress has been made in the program endorsed by its Resolution 513(VI) for the reintegration of refugees, either by repatriation or resettlement, and that, therefore, the situation of the refugees has continued to be a matter of serious concern.”
The section on “The Search for a Settlement” contains the text of Resolution 242 and a summary of the Jarring mission from Dec. 1967-May 1968. Among the appended documents are the questions submitted by Dr. Jarring to the parties concerned in March, 1969, and the replies by the parties. Waldheim, however, offered no evaluation of the success or failure of the Jarring mission.