U.S. Reacting with Disdainto Castro’s Attacks on Peace Moves

American official reaction to the sweeping attacks on the United States, the People’s Republic of China and the Camp David accords by Cuban President Fidel Castro yesterday in the opening session of the conference of non-aligned countries in Havana tends to take the form of obvious disdain and little verbal comment.

Castro, chairman of the non-aligned conference, blamed the world’s evils on the United States and China and said that the Camp David accords were imposed by “Yankee imperialism.” Egypt, he said, has joined Israel as “a gendarme” for “imperialism” in the Middle East. By signing the accords, Egypt had committed “a flagrant betrayal of the Arab cause.”

Asked to comment, State Department spokesman Hodding Carter said the U.S. comment was made by the action of Wayne Smith, the head of the U.S. interest section in Havana, in the absence of a U.S. Embassy there. Smith walked out during Castro’s speech a few minutes after China’s Ambassador, Wang Zhanyuan, had left the hall. Privately, American officials said that Castro’s speech “will not go uncontested among the nonaligned nations and others.” But they indicated that the U.S. would not engage officially in rebutting him.

Noting that Castro had contended “imperialism” had “imposed” the Camp-David accords, these officials said, “That is a view that wins little credence here in Washington after the long and difficult Middle East negotiations — with more of the same in prospect.”

EGYPTIAN OFFICIAL EXPRESSES CONCERN

Press reports observed that Egyptian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Boutros Ghali “quickly expressed concern over such hostility” from a conference chairman who, Ghali said, “by tradition should be a conciliator.”

According to a report received here, when Ghali was defending Egypt’s commitment to peace and “the liberation of Jerusalem,” he was interrupted by Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat who had ?arrived at the conference with a pistol strapped to his waist.” The dispatch quoted Arafat as saying, “I am surprised to hear talk about the liberation of Jerusalem from one who sold Jerusalem for a parcel of sand in the Sinai.”

Arafat was reported as smiling broadly when Castro, in his speech, referring to the Camp David accords as a “bloody, dirty, unjust” military pact engineered by the U.S. Five Arab states and the PLO want to expel Egypt from the conference. But a majority of the 94 nations represented at the conclave are believed opposed to this move.

TITO OPPOSES CASTRO

This was seen in a statement today by Yugoslav President Tito who, at the conference, is opposing Castro’s attempt to give the non-aligned group a more pro-Soviet position. Tito criticized the Israeli-Egyptian talks, saying that “if we wish to be realistic, we must openly say the road of separate solutions does not lead” toward solving the Palestinian question. But, Tito did not mention Egypt by name and this was seen as evidence he would lead efforts to prevent Egypt from being expelled.

Tito said a just solution in the Mideast “must provide for Israel’s withdrawal from all of the Arab occupied territories and for realization of the rights of the Arab people of Palestine independence and their own state.”

Before Tito’s address, United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim called for a conference of all parties in the Mideast dispute under UN auspices to discuss all aspects, including Palestinian rights, in order to seek a comprehensive settlement. Tito endorsed this, saying “a global and just resolution requires the participation on equal footing of all the parties concerned, including the rights of the Palestinian people.”

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