WASHINGTON (Jan. 14)
Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger said today that the resolutions currently “being talked about” at the Security Council’s Middle East debate “seem not too promising.” He gave that assessment at a State Department press conference when asked if there was any chance that “anything constructive” can come out of the Security Council debate either for Israel or the United States.
The Secretary was also pessimistic over chances at present for the negotiation of a new interim agreement between Israel and Syria. He reiterated the strong opposition by the U.S. to any form of outside military intervention in Lebanon’s internal crisis.
Asked about the Security Council debate which opened Monday and which is boycotted by Israel because of the presence of the PLO, Kissinger said: “The U.S. supports the reconvening of the Geneva conference or a preparatory conference to convene the Geneva conference. But I will not pre-judge the debate which is still going on. But from what we have seen, the resolutions that are at this moment being talked about, seem not too promising. On the other hand, the .U.S. strongly supports progress toward peace and we will make efforts when this debate is concluded to begin the negotiating process in whatever form can be arranged.”
Although no draft resolutions have been introduced at the Security Council so far, the sessions are expected to be presented with either amendments or addenda to Resolutions 242 and 838 calling for the recognition of Palestinian rights and PLO participation at Geneva. The Arabs may also processed a draft demanding Israel’s return to the pre-June 1967 borders within one year under penalty of UN sanctions.
Asked about the chances of a new Israeli-Syrian disengagement accord, Kissinger replied, “We of course, support negotiations between Israel and Syria on this subject” but “Syria has declared so repeatedly that it won’t negotiate alone and only in an Arab context. that I would think that a separate agreement between Syria and Israel without involving some other parties is now less likely than would have seemed to be the case several months ago.”
Kissinger did not identify the “other parties” he had in mind but apparently he was referring to the Palestinians. President Hafez Assad of Syria has adamantly refused any further negotiations with Israel unless the Palestinian question is included.
Regarding Lebanon, the Secretary said: “We have stated repeatedly and we support the independence and sovereignty of Lebanon and the right of the communities within Lebanon to lead their own lives.” Kissinger added, “We would believe that any outside military intervention from whatever quarter would involve the gravest threat to peace in the Middle East. We have left the parties concerned with no doubt that the U.S. would oppose any military intervention from whatever quarter.”
Kissinger will be in Moscow from Jan. 20-23 for talks with Soviet officials on disarmament and other matters. He is expected back in Washington by Jan. 29, in time for the visit of Premier Yitzhak Rabin.