UNITED NATIONS (Sep. 17)
Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar said here today he hopes that Israel’s new Premier, Shimon Peres, will consider the withdrawal of Israeli troops from south Lebanon in line with the proposals given by the Secretary General when he visited Jerusalem last March.
Addressing a press conference on the eve of the opening of the 39th session of the General Assembly tomorrow, de Cuellar said that when he met with then Premier-Yitzhak Shamir and Peres, who was at the time leader of the opposition Labor Party, he proposed that Israel withdraw its troops from Lebanon gradually with the assistance of the U.N. peacekeeping forces in the area.
De Cuellar said today that he proposed the idea to Peres and that the newly-elected Premier “listened with great attention and interest.” He added that after the Israeli troops complete their withdrawal, his proposals call for the UN forces to hand over the area to the Lebanese government.
(In Jerusalem, last night, Peres told the opening of the annual United Jewish Appeal fund-raising campaign, that he hoped the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon could be accomplished “in a matter of several months.” Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin also told the UJA gathering that he thought an Israeli withdrawal could be accomplished “not in terms of years, but in a much shorter period of time,” but he did not commit himself to any timetable.)
STILL SEEKS CONFERENCE ON MIDEAST CONFLICT
De Cuellar said, in response to a question, that during the current session of the Assembly he will be meeting with various Foreign Ministers from the Middle East and other countries. He said that one of the issues he will discuss with the Mideast ministers will be the convening of an international peace conference on the Mideast conflict.
The Secretary General was requested by the General Assembly last year to organize such a conference. But he said today that so far he has not received a positive answer from all parties to attend such a conference, Israel rejected the idea a few months ago in a letter to de Cuellar.