WASHINGTON (Aug. 28)
The State Department refrained from any criticism this weekend of the latest resolution adopted by the 55-member Palestine Liberation Organization Central Council which condemned “all of the United States and Zionist maneuvers,” again rejected UN Security Council Resolution 242 and called for “increasing our continuous armed struggle against Zionist occupation.”
At the same time, President Carter continued to voice optimism about chances for peace progress in the Middle East and affirmed that any country which “proved to be intransigent or an obstacle” to such progress would suffer “the condemnation of the rest of the world.”
The PLO resolution, adopted Friday at the Council meeting in Damascus, reiterated “that the Palestinian cause is the crux of the Middle East conflict and warns against giving credence to imperialist and Zionist promises and that it is impossible to achieve a just and lasting peace but on the basis of securing the rights of our people.”
PLO URGES CONFRONTATION WITH ISRAEL
In addition, the resolution appealed “to the Arab nations on both official and popular levels to live up to the national responsibility and confront the plot forged by those powers that are the enemy of our people, such as Zionist and American imperialism, and to extricate themselves from the confines of hesitation into confrontation.” According to reports from Damascus, the resolution was adopted unanimously at the end of the Council’s two-day meeting.
While the State Department declined to discuss the PLO’s resolution it did comment that Carter’s statement of Aug. 8 “stands” as the U.S. position. At that time, Carter said in Plains, Go. that if the PLO would accept Resolution 242 and express the view that the Palestinians have additional status other than refugees, it “would suit us fine.” the State Department noted also that Secretary of State Cyrus Vance’s talks with the Mideast foreign ministers in New York next month are “continuing no matter what the PLO position is.”
(In Jerusalem, Labor Party chairman Shimon Peres said today that the PLO has proven once again that it is a violent organization whose main objective is to annihilate Israel and that it is incapable of any change even for the limited purpose of improving its public image.)
U.S. MAY REDUCE ITS MIDEAST INVOLVEMENT
Meanwhile, Carter, in his remarks Friday to a group of visiting editors expressed “doubt that our government would continue to spend as much time and effort… on a continuing basis” on the Mideast problem unless all the parties involved in the conflict demonstrate that they genuinely want a comprehensive settlement. He said he had found a growing impatience among European and other countries at the lack of progress toward peace.
The President pledged, however, to maintain a search for Mideast peace but added, according to a text of his remarks released yesterday, “I have to say there is going to be a great deal of disillusionment on our part and around the world if some progress is not demonstrated within this year.” Carter contended that Vance’s recent Mideast trip was very successful and that the Secretary found “a much more compatible relationship among Arab leaders. I think we still have a chance for progress there.”