JERUSALEM (Nov. 28)
United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim cabled a report yesterday to the Security Council that Syria and Israel had consented to a six-month extension of the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) now stationed in a buffer zone between Israeli and Syrian forces on the Golan Heights. Israeli had indicated previously its agreement to the extension but Syria withheld approval until its leaders met Waldheim on Tuesday in Damascus.
Sources in Waldheim’s party told newsmen that the Secretary General cabled his report so that the Security Council would have it in ample time for its scheduled meeting tomorrow on renewal of the UNDOF mandate which expires at Friday midnight.
The sources said Waldheim had “tough talks” with Syrian President Hafez Assad and other Syrian leaders. While the Syrians finally placed no conditions on their agreement to extend the UNDOF mandate, they told Waldheim repeatedly that another renewal next May would have to be predicated on tangible progress towards an Israeli withdrawal before May. Waldheim conveyed that Syrian view to Israeli leaders in talks here Tuesday and yesterday before leaving for Cairo.
RELAXATION OF TENSIONS NOTED
The UN chief executive met for 90 minutes with Premier Yitzhak Rabin and Defense Minister Shimon Peres, followed by a working dinner with Deputy Premier Yigal Allon, who is also Foreign Minister. Waldheim told newsmen, before leaving for Egypt, that after his talks with Syrian and Israeli officials, he was certain both sides wanted a political settlement. He added he had noted a relaxation of tensions. He said Assad had told him “Syria does not want war.” He said that Syria wanted a political settlement “but they cannot wait forever to get a political settlement.”
In reply to a question, Waldheim said UNDOF was not an aim in itself but a means to achieve a settlement. Allon, who saw Waldheim off at Ben Gurion Airport, said the talks with the Secretary General were fruitful and thanked the UN forces for their role in the region. Waldheim is scheduled to be back at the UN today for the meeting of the Security Council tomorrow.