UNITED NATIONS (Mar. 5)
United States Ambassador Donald McHenry said today that his country will not initiate a move to correct the Security Council resolution of last Saturday which demanded that Israel dismantle all settlements in the occupied territories including East Jerusalem. President Carter late Monday night said the U.S. support of the resolution was an “error.”
Answering reporters’ questions at a press conference at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, McHenry said the U.S. will not initiate changing the resolution because “there are no provisions in the Security Council for changing the vote.”
McHenry, carefully wording his answers to reporters’ questions, reiterated throughout the half-hour press conference that “it is not necessary for me to go beyond the President’s statement.” Carter had said that “the U.S. vote in the UN was approved” by him “with the understanding that all references to Jerusalem would be deleted. The failure to communicate this clearly resulted in a vote in favor of the resolution rather than abstention. “But the American envoy refused to go into details of the “failure in communication,” its nature or whom it involved. “It was a simple communication problem,” he contended.
He said, however, that as a result of the incident he believes his task at the UN will be “more difficult” now. He said he expects more debates on the issue of Israeli settlements, reiterating, in response to a question that Israeli settlements in the occupied territory are “contrary to international low and are an obstacle to peace.”
AVOIDS QUESTION ON U.S. POSITION ON JERUSALEM
Asked to state the U.S. position regarding Jerusalem in view of the Security Council resolution, McHenry avoided the question, saying only that the resolution “in my judgement was an settlements, and not an Jerusalem.”
He also said he does not believe, following the foul-up over the U.S. vote in the Council, that there is any kind of “conspiracy” against his “incumbency.” He also rejected outright rumors which he termed “unfounded and irresponsible,” to the effect that he bypassed Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and dealt with the President directly regarding the U.S. vote in the Council.
Today’s press conference was scheduled sometime ago to enable McHenry to discuss his recent seven-nation tour to the Mideast. But the session was dominated by the issue of the U.S. vote in the Council. McHenry said that in his talks in the Mid east he was told by Arab leaders that the Palestinian question is the number one priority for them and no less important than the issue of Afghanistan. They urged the U.S. to move “quicker” to resolve the Palestinian question, McHenry said,