UNITED NATIONS (Oct. 5)
Warning that “the Arab-Israel conflict continues to escalate,” a top Syrian official called Wednesday for the convening of an international peace conference, with the participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization, to settle the Middle East dispute.
In an address to the General Assembly, Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara said that while other international conflicts are in the process of being resolved, there is not “even a sign” that the Middle East conflict is progressing toward a solution.
Shara said that as long as Israel continues to occupy Arab lands, there can be no peace. He said that an international peace conference under U.N. auspices should be convened on the basis of Israel’s “complete withdrawal” from the Golan Heights, southern Lebanon, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
Shara also said that Palestinian rights to self-determination and to a state of their own also must serve as a basis for the peace conference.
The Syrian official said that no progress for peace is likely to result from the general election in Israel and the United States. He charged that the platforms of both major parties in Israel, Labor and Likud, “are not for peace,” and that the U.S. government is under Israel’s influence.
“The special relations between Israel and the United States do not serve peace and are in fact an obstacle to peace” in the Middle East, the foreign minister declared.
RHETORIC NOT AS SHARP
Shara also said that the United Nations has failed, because it did not impose sanctions on Israel for not abiding by various U.N. resolutions.
Diplomats and observers here noted that the Syrian rhetoric against Israel this year was not as sharp as in previous general assemblies. They pointed out, however, that in essence the Syrian demands remained as rigid as in the past.
Shara met later in the day with Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar and discussed with him the situation in the Middle East, in general, and in Lebanon, in particular.
Shara’s address was not the only negative one on Israel here this week. Addressing the General Assembly on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz of Iraq accused “Zionist circles” of conducting “a campaign against Iraq” by collaborating with the Iranian regime in the belief that a continuation of the war between Iran and Iraq would be “a gain for Israel.”
The Libyan delegate to the United Nations, Gadallah Azouz el-Talhy, in a speech to the General Assembly the same day, also accused the United States of siding with Israel and being therefore against a solution in the region.
He called Washington “the protector of the Zionist entity” and the main obstacle in efforts to reach a peaceful solution in the Middle East.