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W.h.o. Delays Actions on Arab Demands

The World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday shelved for one year an Arab-sponsored move to suspend Israel’s voting rights in the organization. The shelving followed a move by a main committee of WHO’s annual assembly which accepted a compromise proposal from its Mozambique chairman after a series of behind-the scenes negotiations to avert an open clash between Islamic states and Western nations.

The propositioned that a special WHO committee on health conditions in Israeli occupied areas had not visited the region this year. It called for the three member team to conduct a new on the spot investigation and report back next year.

The resolution was accepted in committee by consensus and now goes before the full assembly WHO officials said there was no reason to expect the decision will be challenged. The United States had cautioned WHO earlier this month that it would consider withdrawing from that body if it expelled or suspended Israel of if it would act against Egypt. WHO opened its assembly May 7 to set policies for the coming year.

Meanwhile, the WHO also postponed a decision on whether to remove its Eastern Mediterranean regional office from Alexandria, as demanded by 20 Arab states that oppose the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. They had insisted on an immediate decision but were unable to generate sufficient support in a key committee of the 151-member WHO assembly. A compromise resolution adopted by consensus called for the Executive Board to study the financial and political implications of such a move and report back to next year’s assembly.

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