UNITED NATIONS (Jan. 27)
United Nations Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, addressing the Islamic summit conference in Kuwait, Monday, warned that failure to resolve the Middle East conflict could lead to a wider conflict, including nuclear war, and that a comprehensive settlement must include the participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied territories.
The text of the Secretary General’s speech to Arab leaders attending the meeting of the 46-member Organization of the Islamic Conference was released here Tuesday. It was also announced that de Cuellar’s meetings with Arab leaders included one on Tuesday with PLO chief Yasir Arafat. He has also met with President Hafez Assad of Syria and President Amin Gemayel of Lebanon.
The situation in the Middle East endangers the peace of the world, the Secretary General told the conference. “The conflict jeopardizes not only the future of all the people living in a vital and central region of the world but the wider peace as well,” he said.
He warned that as long as the Middle East conflict remains unresolved, “the situation in the region will continue to be highly volatile and breed extremism and violence.” There is also a danger of nuclear war if the situation is allowed to fester, he declared.
According to de Cuellar, a comprehensive settlement in the area must involve all parties concerned, including the PLO. To reach a settlement, he said Israel must withdraw from the Arab territories it occupied in June 1967. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states in the region must be recognized. And the Palestinian problem must be resolved, based on the recognition of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, “including self-determination,” he said.
The Secretary General added that the question of Jerusalem must also be settled.