UNITED NATIONS (Dec. 16)
New evidence emerged yesterday from a private meeting of the Security Council there would be a delay in the opening of the Middle East peace conference in Geneva. The Council adopted a resolution linking the UN to the Geneva conference but, at the last minute, a reference in the resolution to the scheduled Dec. 18 opening date was deleted and the phrase “to begin shortly in Geneva” was used.
Ten nations sponsored the resolution and cast affirmative votes for it. None of the five permanent members voted for it. France reportedly abstained on grounds that the link between the conference and the UN was not sufficiently specific. The United States and the Soviet Union did not vote for it reportedly because conference preparations were not yet complete. Britain, lacking U.S. and Soviet support, abstained. China declared non-participation. The sponsors were Australia. Austria, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Panama, Peru, Sudan and Yugoslavia.
According to reports here, the Council met in private after receiving information from the Middle East that the opening of the Geneva conference would be delayed one or two days. After the 46-minute session, the Council issued both the text of the resolution and a communique on the session. UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, who has been waiting for several days for a letter from the United States and the Soviet Union asking him to convene the conference, said he had planned to leave for Geneva last night but postponed his departure to await “future developments.”
The resolution expressed the hope that the conference would make speedy progress toward establishment of “a just and durable peace” in the Mideast and expressed “its confidence” that Waldheim would have “a full and effective role” at the conference and that he would “preside over its proceedings, if the parties so desire.”