JERUSALEM (Nov. 24)
Syria is insisting that the UN Security Council replace its Resolutions 242 and 338 as the framework for a negotiated peace settlement in the Middle East with a formula acceptable to the Palestine Liberation Organization, That is the condition Syria has attached to its agreement to extend the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observers Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights which expires Nov. 30, it was learned here today following two hours of talks between UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim and top Israeli leaders.
Highly qualified observers here believe, however, that despite the present impasse the UNDOF mandate will be renewed, The observers cited Soviet pressure on the Syrians for an extension, reportedly because Moscow does not wish to exacerbate Middle East tensions at this time for global political reasons.
Waldheim arrived here this morning from Damascus and immediately went into conference with Foreign Minister Yigal Allon, They were Joined by Premier Yitzhak Rabin and Defense Minister Shimon Porus, Waldheim told reporters afterwards that “it is a very delicate situation and I do not want to comment before this phase is over,” He is returning to Damascus Wednesday for further meetings with Syrian President Hafez Assad “to clarify a number of points.”
Waldheim remarked that it was still “premature” to express confidence that Syria would agree to extend the UNDOF mandate, He said “there are differences” between Israel and Syria on the matter which required him to return to Damascus.
It was learned that the Syrians apparently told Waldheim that they were dissatisfied with the present state of affairs in the Middle East, They reportedly felt that Resolutions 242 and 338–which Syria has never accepted–failed to break the impasse and the Geneva conference was not convened as a result, Therefore, the Syrians suggested a new framework for Mideast negotiations to be formulated by the Security Council, acceptable to the PLO and opening the way for its participation in the Geneva talks,
ISRAEL PRESENTS ITS VIEW
Israel’s leaders, however, reportedly made it clear to Waldheim that Israel was determined not to participate in any forum at which the PLO was present and that it regarded extension of the UNDOF mandate a matter completely independent of any other possible developments.
The news Waldheim brought from Damascus surprised some circles here who were apparently convinced that the Secretary General had succeeded in gaining Syria’s assent to renewal of the UNDOF mandate, conditional on improved prospects for further diplomatic movement in the region, Waldheim will go to Beirut today and to Cairo tomorrow prior to his second Damascus visit, He is scheduled to return to New York and report to the Security Council at the end of the week.
It was understood that Israeli leaders reiterated to Waldheim that Israel does not accept the Nov. 10 resolution of the UN General-Assembly Inviting the PLO to participate in any Mideast peace forums and will not cooperate with any committee set up by the General Assembly, in accordance with another resolution, to oversee implementation of the rights of the Palestinians.
The Israelis were also believed to have protested sharply to Waldheim over the murder of three Israeli students on the Golan Heights last Thursday night by Arab terrorists who infiltrated Israeli lines with the apparent help and knowledge of the Syrian army.
Earlier, Allon expressed regret that Waldheim had met with PLO chieftain Yasir Arafat in Damascus. He said the meeting only encouraged extremism and was especially insensitive on Waldheim’s part following the Golan Heights murders, The Secretary General reportedly explained that he did not initiate the meeting with Arafat but that the General Assembly had decided that such contact’s should take place.