UNITED NATIONS (Oct. 8)
Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar sharply denounced today the hijacking of an Italian cruise ship with more than 400 people aboard by PLO terrorists, calling it “criminal and unjustifiable.”
“The Secretary General, who condemns all acts of terrorism, has learned with horror of the hijacking of an Italian cruise ship, which constitutes yet another escalation of violence in the Mideast,” a statement, read by a UN spokesman, said.
The Secretary General, the statement continued, “urges those responsible to understand that their act is criminal and unjustifiable and should be ended without delay in a manner that would avoid further suffering by innocent victims.”
De Cuellar, the statement concluded, “appeals to all those in a position to do so to exert all possible efforts to help resolve this problem, which affects the international community as a whole.”
Last week, the Secretary General condemned Israel for its raid on PLO bases in Tunisia. In his statement today, the Secretary General did not mention the PLO, referring only to “those responsible” for the action.
In a separate statement here today, the President of the General Assembly, Jaime de Pinies of Spain, expressed “great concern” over the hijacking. He said he was “particularly worried by the hijackers’ threats to start killing the hostages.” He termed the hijacking a “most serious and regrettable escalation of terrorism against innocent civilians.”
SECURITY COUNCIL SESSION UNLIKELY
Meanwhile, no request was made by any member-state to convene the Security Council to condemn the hijacking. Italy’s Deputy Permanent Rep-resentative to the UN, Gaetano Zucconi, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that the mission received no instructions from Rome to ask for a Security Council meeting.
A UN spokesman said that the Security Council takes up complaints of one state against another and that the hijackers of the cruise ship do not represent any state. He said, in response to another question, that the hijackers said they did not belong to the PLO. The PLO has observer status at the UN and is regularly seated at the Security Council table at any Mideast debate.
Diplomats at the UN said today that there is not a chance that the Council will go into session. One diplomat said caustically, “The Security Council meets only when Israel is involved.”