Waldheim Says Geneva Mideast Talks Will Not Begin Before Year’s End

United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim said today that he believes the Geneva peace conference on the Middle East will not be resumed before the end of this year. The first and only session of the conference was a two day meeting last Dec.

Referring to the “lessons” of UN peace-keeping in Cyprus, and in the Middle East from 1956 to 1967, Waldheim appeared to confirm the long-held Israeli view that international guarantees and peace-keeping forces cannot by themselves effectively safeguard Israel from Arab attacks at times suitable to the Arabs but that pragmatic activities by Arab governments toward Israel are essential to make and keep the peace.

Waldheim, speaking before the National Press Club, said that a UN peace-keeping force fulfills “a vital role in keeping conflict situations under control,” but added that “the presence of a UN peace-keeping force is not a solution in itself and that it must not be allowed to be a pretext for slackening the momentum of the search for a political settlement.” The UN Emergency Force and UN Disengagement Observer Force now in the Sinai and Golan Heights, he said, “have bought time for negotiations” but they “by themselves cannot achieve the lasting peace which is essential if we are to avoid a repetition of the critical confrontation of last Oct.”

Waldheim said that the Geneva conference, to be effective, must be well prepared. He, therefore, seemed to indicate that discussions held thus far in Washington between President Ford and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger with Middle Eastern leaders have not yet brought about sufficient understanding for discussions under UN auspices. Waldheim discussed the Geneva talks at the White House yesterday with Ford.

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