UNITED NATIONS (Jun. 14)
Secretary General Kurt Waldheim responded sharply today to a letter from Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan charging that the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is cooperating with the terrorists. Waldheim, who said he was “surprised” by the allegations, took the unusual step of releasing the text of his reply to Dayan before it was circulated as an official UN document. Earlier, he handed his response to the Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Chaim Herzog.
Dayan alleged, in a letter to Waldheim yesterday announcing the final withdrawal of Israeli forces from south Lebanon, that “It appears that UNIFIL is permitting the transit of food and other supplies to the terrorists and that the latter, for their part, are clandestinely introducing arms and other military equipment into the area.” Dayan also charged that there are official PLO liaison officers in touch with UNIFIL. He said these developments violated Security Council Resolution 425 which established UNIFIL and called on Waldheim to take action to prevent the re-entry of the PLO into south Lebanon “and to expel these already there.”
In his response, Waldheim said that “As regards the transit of non-military supplies to small groups in the area (south Lebanon), “he dealt with the matter in his report submitted to the Security Council today. He said that for humanitarian as well as “practical reasons,” UNIFIL has agreed to allow delivery of food, water and medicine “to limited Palestinian groups still in its area of operation.”
ACKNOWLEDGES LIAISON OFFICERS
Waldheim acknowledged that there were PLO liaison officers in contact with UNIFIL just “as indeed there are liaison officers with all parties concerned.” He added, “I must take exception to the context of your statement that the present situation ‘bodes ill for the future.’ In extremely difficult circumstances, UNIFIL has made great efforts and will continue to make great efforts to carry out all parts of its mandate.”
Waldheim charged that the task of UNIFIL has not been facilirated by the Israeli decision “not to turn over control of the remainder of the area of operations to UNIFIL.” He stressed that the situation requires the full cooperation of all parties concemed. “It would be helpful if those concemed refrain from making unsubstantiated public statements about this or that aspect of an extremely difficult operation,” Waldheim told Dayan.
In his report to the Security Council, Waldheim said the Lebanese government has taken the position, in the wake of the Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon, that Maj. Sa’ad Haddad, commander of the Christian militia, is “provisionally recognized by the Lebanese government as de facto commander of the Lebanese forces in his present area for the purpose of facilitating UNIFIL’s mission.”