Cool Reaction to Arab Foreign Ministers Resolutions

Officials here reacted with studied calm today to reports of a series of tough decisions taken by the Arab foreign ministers who have been meeting in Cairo since Saturday. Apparently there was a conscious decision here not to engage in vituperative public exchanges so soon before the foreign ministers of the Mideast area go to New York and Washington later this month to hold talks with President Carter and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance.

The Arab foreign ministers urged the upcoming United Nations General Assembly to take strong measures against Israel and intend to urge the world body to condemn Israel’s settlement policy in the occupied territories. They have also approved a draft resolution asking the UN to call on member states to halt military and economic aid to Israel; urging the restoration of all rights of the Palestinian people including their right to return, self-determination and the creation of a Palestinian state.

In addition, the resolution, which is reportedly to be submitted to the General Assembly after consultations in New York with Moslem and nonaligned foreign ministers, also calls on UN member states to halt the emigration of their citizens to “Palestinian and other Arab occupied territories.”

Reacting to the emigration halt, an Israeli official here said: “Soon they will be calling on us to introduce compulsory birth control.” Israeli officials also pointed up the discord between Egypt and Syria which the Cairo conference had bared.

While Damascus pressed for extremist positions but failed to receive endorsement by the majority of the ministers, Egypt sought to hammer out more moderate platforms, apparently in the hope of getting American support for them or at least not incurring American opposition. Thus, Damascus sought approval of a resolution calling on the General Assembly to suspend Israel’s membership. Egypt suggested, instead, that the UN condemn Israel’s “expansionist” policies. Egypt’s approach was adopted.

NEXT STORY