Herzog, Waldheim Confer on Undof Extension on the Eve of the UN Chief Official’s Visit to Damascus

Israeli Ambassador Chaim Herzog met with Secretary General Kurt Waldheim today to convey the Israeli government’s position with respect to renewal of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) mandate on the eve of Waldheim’s visit to Damascus. Herzog reportedly reiterated that Israel is ready to extend the UNDOF mandate, which expires May 30, with no conditions attached and on the basis of the disengagement agreement signed between Israel and Syria two years ago.

Waldheim, who had an earlier meeting with Herzog on the same matter last Friday, will leave for Damascus tomorrow and is expected to return here Thursday. According to diplomatic sources, the Secretary General believes that Syria needs the excuse of a personal appeal, from him to agree to an extension of UNDOF on the Golan Heights. Although the Syrians have not yet indicated their intentions, it is believed here that they will agree at the last moment to renew UNDOF.

Herzog also reportedly told Waldheim today that Israel supports reconvening the Geneva peace conference with the participation of the original parties that were invited by the conference co-chairmen, the U.S. and USSR, on Dec. 18, 1973.

IMPASSE ON WEST BANK STATEMENT

It was learned, meanwhile, that Security Council members have reached an impasse in their consultations over a consensus statement that would deplore Israel’s occupation practices on the West Bank. Sources here said the U.S. had expressed dissatisfaction with the phrasing of the statement. While a consensus statement is not subject to veto, it requires unanimous endorsements by Security Council members.

Sources said that in view of the American objections, the Arab states are likely to press for an earlier Egyptian draft resolution condemning Israel despite the risk of a U.S. veto. The debate over the West Bank, which began more than three weeks ago, remains suspended and there was no indication here today when the Security Council will reconvene.

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