TEL AVIV (Apr. 17)
United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim arrived here from Beirut this afternoon for discussions with Israeli leaders of the situation in south Lebanon and enlargement of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon(UNIFIL).
Before he left Vienna for the Middle East yesterday; Waldheim was quoted, in an interview in the Austrian newspaper Die Presse, as saying that the Israeli-Egyptian peace process has failed and predicting that Mideast negotiations would be returned soon to the UN.
“It is evident that the new initiatives to solve the (Middle East) problem on a bilateral level have failed,” Waldheim said, according to Die Presse. He said he would try to arrange a preparatory conference of Middle East parties, including the Arab hardliners, under UN auspices as a preliminary for resuming the Geneva conference. Die Presse quoted Waldheim as saying that “the Russians want to go to Geneva directly. I can tell you that we can’t go to Geneva directly. We have to prepare the Geneva conference very carefully.”
COMPLAINS ABOUT SLOW PULLBACK
In Beirut this morning, Waldheim met with Lebanese President Elias Sarkis and with PLO chieftain Yasir Arafat. He told reporters here that Arafat promised to respect UN Security Council Resolution 425 of March 19 which set up UNIFIL and to instruct his men to act accordingly.
On his arrival in Beirut. Waldheim complained about the slow pace of Israel’s withdrawal of its forces from south Lebanon. He said the two stage pullback did not meet the requirements of Resolution 425 because it was only a partial withdrawal. He said it was very important to speed up the departure of Israeli troops from south Lebanon so that Lebanese authority can be restored there.
Waldheim told reporters at Ben Gurion Airport that he is in the Middle East to discuss the implementation of Resolution 425 with all parties concerned. He said he would seek Security Council approval to reinforce UNIFIL by an additional 1500 soldiers because its originally mandated strength of 4000 was not enough. Waldheim will meet in Jerusalem with Premier Menachem Begin, Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan and Defense Minister Ezer Weizman and will go to south Lebanon later to inspect UN troops.