UNITED NATIONS (Sep. 27)
Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Arens used the opportunity of his speech before the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday to bring Israel’s peace initiative directly before the leaders of the Arab nations and the rest of the world.
Arens asked the world leaders gathered here to support the peace plan, which calls for Palestinian elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, followed by peace negotiations between Israel and the elected Palestinians.
“There is no alternative way to move the Middle Eastern peace process forward,” Arens stated. “Rejection of this initiative is synonymous with rejecting progress towards peace.”
“This is not the time to attempt to wring concessions from Israel that relate to the permanent settlement,” the foreign minister said. “Our immediate objective must be to put an end to violence and get negotiations going.”
INVITES DIALOGUE WITH ARAB ENVOYS
Arens told an audience of Jewish New Yorkers Monday evening that Israel has “not received a positive response” to the Israeli plan from the Arab world.
Egypt’s failure to accept the Israeli peace plan is reflected in President Hosni Mubarak’s refusal to meet with Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, Arens asserted during the Monday night forum, which was organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.
Mubarak has turned down invitations from Shamir to visit Jerusalem. Last week, the Egyptian president hosted Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the No. 2 Labor Party leader, in Cairo. He is to meet separately Thursday with Arens and Vice Premier Shimon Peres.
In his speech at the United Nations, Arens invited the Arab nations to join in a dialogue with Israel.
Listing by name the 20 Arab countries other than Egypt that belong to the United Nations, he urged them to “utilize the opportunity of being present at the United Nations General Assembly and meet with me to discuss how we can move from belligerency to peace.”
The foreign minister also appealed to the Palestinians living in the territories to “desist from violent acts and help establish the conditions that will will permit the holding of free democratic elections.”