United Nations (Sep. 22)
The Soviet Union said today that peace in the Middle East can be assured “only through a comprehensive political settlement, one which would not infringe upon the rights of any country or people of that region.”
In his address to the UN General Assembly, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko said that such a Middle East peace could be reached “through convening an international conference with the participation of all parties concerned, including the Palestine Liberation Organization.” His remarks on the Middle East were part of a broad foreign policy speech outlining his country’s position on major world issues, particularly as they relate to the U.S.
USSR BLAMES ISRAEL FOR MIDEAST SITUATION
Gromyko declared that a Middle East settlement “must envisage withdrawal of Israeli troops from all Arab territories occupied since 1967 and the exercise of the national rights of the Arab people of Palestine, including the right to establish their own state.”
The Soviet Foreign Minister blamed Israel directly for the fact that the situation in the Middle East “remains a dangerous one.” He accused “Israel’s ruling circles” of persisting in their expansionist policies and charged that they “do not stop their brutal terror against the people of Lebanon, while influential forces outside the area actually encourage this policy and seek to follow the pattern of the anti-Arab Camp David deal.”
Gromyko also declared that “the struggle of the Arab peoples to defend their legitimate rights, trampled under foot as a result of Israel’s aggression, elicits understanding and support on the part of an overwhelming majority of countries.”
Gromyko’s speech today marked no departure from previous Soviet statements on the Middle East which denounced the Camp David accords, called for Israel’s total withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories and expressed support for Palestinian rights, including a homeland. As in previous years, today’s Soviet statement implicitly recognized Israel’s right to exist when it called for a settlement that would not infringe upon the rights of any country or people in the region.