UNITED NATIONS (Feb. 14)
The Soviet Union, while strongly opposing Israeli settlement of immigrants in the West Bank, has firmly rejected the notion of curtailing Soviet Jewish immigration to Israel.
It is “said that the Soviet Union must take resolute measures to prevent Soviet Jews from settling in Israel. That is impossible,” Yuli Vor-ontsov, the Soviet first vice minister of foreign affairs, said in a statement from Moscow released here Wednesday.
Vorontsov explained that any action to restrict the emigration of Soviet Jews would interfere with pending Soviet emigration reform legislation, whose adoption by the Supreme Soviet is anticipated “in the near future.”
The emigration reforms, Vorontsov said, will normalize procedures so that all Soviet citizens, not only Jews, can enter and exit the country in conformity with “international practice.”
“There is nothing that would justify a revision of this bill,” Vorontsov said.
The statement, a text of which was conveyed to U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar by the Soviet representative to the United Nations, is essentially a justification of the Soviet Union’s decision Monday to request a Security Council meeting on the issue of settling Soviet Jewish emigres in Israel’s administered territories.
That Security Council meeting is expected to take place late this week or early next week.
Vorontsov charged that Israel’s stated policy of allowing the Soviet immigrants to choose where they want to live, including the West Bank and Gaza Strip, violates the Geneva Conventions, as well as past U.N. resolutions that have called on Israel to stop building settlements.
“Appeals are sometimes made to the Soviet Union not to allow persons of Jewish nationality who leave the Soviet Union to settle in the occupied territories,” Vorontsov said in the statement.
“Such requests ought naturally to be directed to the Israeli government, and that is why we are bringing the question before the Security Council for consideration,” he added.
HINTS OF U.S.-ISRAELI COLLUSION
Such a resolution should contain “an appeal” to the Israelis “not to allow anything to occur which might modify the demographic structure of the West Bank,” the official added.
Vorontsov claimed in the statement that Secretary of State James Baker was informed, during his recent visit to Moscow, of the Soviets’ intent to convene a Security Council meeting.
“The U.S. secretary of state promised to consider our views on the question,” said Vorontsov. “We are counting on the support of the United States in the Security Council.”
His statement also appeared to imply that a possible conspiracy exists between the United States and Israel to guide Soviet Jews to the administered territories.
Vorontsov pointed out that the United States has reduced the number of Soviet Jews being granted entry visas.
“There are long lines forming — perhaps with Israel’s approval — of persons who thought they would be able to enter the United States,” he said.
But his statement also pointed out that “the United States categorically denies the existence of any collusion with Israel and maintains that only technicalities are holding up the review of applications from Soviet emigrants wishing to enter the United States.”