Washington (Jun. 24)
The State Department denied today press reports that Secretary of State Alexander Haig was displeased by the way U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Jeane Kirkpatrick, had negotiated last week’s Security Council resolution condemning Israel for its raid on Iraq’s nuclear reactor June 7.
David Passage, a State Department spokesman, said that Mrs. Kirkpatrick was “unusually skillful” in the behind-the-scenes negotiations and kept both Haig and President Reagan fully informed. Passage praised Kirkpatrick after he was questioned about reports by newsmen aboard Haig’s plane enroute from New Zealand to Hawaii, quoting aides to Haig as critical of the way the UN envoy handled the negotiations.
The aides were reported as saying that Haig had to intervene personally from Peking and Manila to ensure that the resolution adopted was not overly injurious to Israel. Passage said Kirkpatrick consulted Haig on “every step along the road” when the resolution was being worked out. He said that when any
new paragraphs in the resolution were brought up they were immediately sent to Haig for his approval or recommended changes.
Passage said he doubted the stories because of many “factual errors” he said he found in them. He pointed specifically to a statement that Haig would recall U.S. special envoy Philip Habib from the Middle East before Israel’s parliamentary elections on June 30. Habib is presently in Beirut and Passage said there were no plans now to recall him.