Bouteflika Thwarted in Effort to Bar Israel from Further Participation in UN Debate on Palestine Iss

An attempt by the President of the General Assembly Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria, to bar Israel from further participation in the debate on the Palestine question was overridden today apparently through the intervention of Secretary General Kurt Waldheim. The name of Israel’s Ambassador Yosef Tekoah was restored to the speakers list by Bradford Morse. Assistant Secretary General for General Assembly Affairs, a UN spokesman announced late this afternoon. It had been arbitrarily removed earlier by Bouteflika.

The incident was disclosed by Tekoah at a press conference this afternoon to which he brought copies of the speech he was to deliver on the General Assembly floor this evening. The Israeli envoy said he had been informed by the UN Secretariat without explanation of Bouteflika’s deletion of his name, a ruling on procedure unprecedented in UN history. He said he was informed by other sources that “this applies to the remainder of the debate” on Palestine which opened yesterday and is to continue for two weeks. Tekoah described Bouteflika’s move as “one more act of bias” and another demonstration of the “one-sided” attitude of the Assembly President who is the Foreign Minister of Algeria.

Bouteflika had displayed his venom against Israel when he launched into a diatribe against the Jewish State in his acceptance speech as Assembly President at the beginning of this year’s session in Sept.

Tekoah read the text of a letter he sent to Waldheim this morning informing him of the incident. The letter said: “Contrary to practice and the rules of procedure, the President of the General Assembly prevented me from speaking at today’s plenary session on Item 108 despite the fact that Israel remained inscribed on the list of speakers for two weeks before the debate began.”

Israel’s reinstatement was announced shortly after the press conference ended. Bouteflika, opening the afternoon session of the debate, said he would permit the Israeli Ambassador to deliver his speech. But he said that the President of the General Assembly could limit the number of speeches a member delegate makes in the course of debate. He called on all delegates to voluntarily limit themselves to one speech but said the right of reply would remain in force. The right of reply is limited to 10 minutes and can be exercised only at the end of the session.

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