UNITED NATIONS (Sep. 5)
Secretary General Kurt Waldheim warned today that unless the present momentum for peace in the Middle East is maintained and progress is made, “it will not be long before violence breaks out again, with all its dread implications bath for the people of the Middle East and for the world community as a whole.” Waldheim’s remarks were captained to the “Introduction to the Report of the Secretary General on the Work of the Organization” submitted to the 29th session of the General Assembly. The document was released this evening, is advance of the open- ing of the Assembly Sept. 17.
The Secretary General listed events in the Middle East during the past year as one of two developments that “have been of particular significance in the evolution of the United Nations.” The other, he said, was the UN’s efforts to deal with “the mounting complexities and dangers of the world economic situation.” Both that and the Middle East situation “are closely interconnected,” he said.
Waldheim noted that the Arab-Israeli war of last Oct. “showed once again the explosive nature of the unresolved Middle East problem and the dangers it presented for world peace.” But, he added there had emerged from the war “a number of new elements which, provided they can be built upon expeditiously, offer a better hope for peace in the Middle East than has existed for many years past.”
Among these, he said, was the recognition by the governments concerned of “the vital importance both for themselves and for the world community as a whole, of renewing the effort to reach a lasting settlement” and the “forward-looking and realistic attitude” they have shown in the search for peace.
GENEVA CONFERENCE PROVIDES NEW FORUM
Waldheim said that “the Geneva conference under Soviet and United States co-chairmanship, and under United Nations auspices, provides a new forum for the continued search for a settlement. In the meantime, he continued, “the disengagement agreements between Israel on the one side and Syria and Egypt on the other have, for the time being at any rate, defused an explosive military confrontation by consolidating the cease-fire and have created conditions so essential for fruitful negotiations.”
He warned, however, that despite these “positive and encouraging developments…the main issues remain to be solved.” He noted that “in this regard, contacts and planning should move forward with a view to the earliest possible resumption of the Geneva peace conference. Unless the momentum is maintained and progress is made, the desire for a settlement and the new combination of forces for peace, which emerged from the chaos of war, can very quickly dissolve in the bitterness of frustration and disappointment. In that case it will not be long before violence breaks out once again…”
Waldheim observed, “The problems of the Middle East are of exceptional depth and difficulty, and the process of resolving them will be long and arduous. On the other hand,” he added, “it is the underlying assumption of the United Nations that no problem of human relations is inclinable.”