UNITED NATIONS (Jul. 16)
United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim said today that the situation in the Middle East “continues to be dangerous” especially in view of the Egyptian announcement that she will not consent to the extension of the United Nations Emergency Force. Answering question at a press conference, Waldheim said that his understanding of the new situation is that Egypt feels that UNEF’s presence in the Sinal is not justified if there is no progress in negotiations between Israel and Egypt.
In a letter to Waldheim last night, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmy declared that Egypt will consent to UNEF’s continued operation after July 24 only if UNEF is properly used. Egypt. Waldheim explained, feels that the force should not be used to perpetuate the occupation of Arab territory.
“It is evident that Egypt seems to be ready to consent to the extension of the mandate of UNEF only if the Security Council takes action in regard to the political solution of the problem–in other words, in regard to a lasting solution of the Middle East problem,” Waldheim said.
In his initial reaction last night, Waldheim told a press conference that on the basis of the letter and his talks with Ahmed Esmal Meguid, Cairo’s chief representative, that he did not consider the current situation as comparable with that of May 1967, when Egypt ordered the UN troops to leave.
SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING NEXT WEEK
The Egyptian letter and Waldheim’s remarks today indicated that the Egyptians will agree to extend UNEF’s life only if the Security Council will pass a new resolution or resolutions calling for immediate withdrawal from Arab territories. Meanwhile, it was learned here that private consultations between Security Council members are
Israeli sources here described the situation today as “complicated,” They said that Waldheim has not requested so far a meeting with the Israeli representative. Western diplomats and observers here agreed today that the Egyptian move is a form of pressure on Israel in the ongoing negotiations to achieve an interim Sinal agreement.
On the question of suspension of UN members Waldheim said that he believed in “universality of membership.” But he was elusive when asked what he thinks about the move to suspend Israel, saying that “the General Assembly is the master of its own business.” Asked about withdrawal of United States support should Israel be suspended, the Secretary General said, “It will create a very serious situation. I hope it will not happen.”