UNITED NATIONS (Oct. 21)
Only a few days before Israel’s credentials are scheduled to be presented for approval in the General Assembly, the Arab countries retreated from their decision of two weeks ago to seek Israel’s suspension from the Assembly.
According to reports here, the shift was decided upon at a closed meeting of the 21 members of the Arab League two days ago. The decision not to seek Israel’s suspension meant in effect that the Arabs succumbed to American pressure and the warning last Saturday by Secretary of State George Shultz that if Israel were expelled from the Assembly the U.S. would walk out of it and terminate its payments to the world organization.
Another reason for the Arabs retreat, according to diplomats here, was that a move at this time to suspend Israel would be incompatible with President Reagan’s Middle East proposals and the declaration the Arab states adopted at their summit meeting in Fez, Morocco last month. That declaration urged guarantees for countries in the Mideast. The Arabs view the Fez declaration and Reagan’s proposals as generally positive steps.
SEEKING STATEMENT OF CONDEMNATION
Instead of seeking to exclude Israel from the Assembly, the Arabs have decided to issue a joint statement condemning Israel for what they contend are repeated violations of the UN Charter and its defiance of Security Council resolutions. Arab and Moslem delegates were holding consultations today on the text of the statement that is to be presented to the General Assembly Monday when the credentials of Israel and other member-states are presented for approval.
The Arabs decision to drop the suspension bid did not come as a surprise here. Apart from Libya and Iran, which spearheaded the suspension drive, all the Arab countries seemed to be aware of the grave consequences such a move would have on the UN as an organization in general and to the Arab cause in particular.
The U.S. contributes 25 percent of the UN’s annual budget of $600 million. If the U.S. withdraws its financial support, the UN will lose its ability to operate effectively. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar also made it clear to the Arabs that suspending Israel would be a severe blow to the UN’s prestige and would curtail dramatically its humanitarian programs for Palestinian refugees.
Diplomats here said, however, that the drive to deny Israel its credentials will probably come up again next year during the 38th session of the General Assembly.