Middle East Armament Reduction Urged by Israelite U.N. Assembly
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Middle East Armament Reduction Urged by Israelite U.N. Assembly

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Israel today told the United Nations that, while the General Assembly was discussing general and complete disarmament on a world wide scale, it should also consider “regional schemes for renunciation of war, ” and pledges by members to abstain from active hostility of all kinds.

“Israel holds itself ready, as it has done in the past, ” stated Ambassador Arthur Lourie, chairman of Israel’s delegation, “to cooperate to the full in any discussions of this kind, with a view to working out a solution for reducing and, if possible, eliminating the crushing burden of armaments which continue to bear so hard on our entire region.”

Mr. Lourie spoke before the Political Committee of the General Assembly, where a disarmament resolution sponsored by every one of the 82 members of the UN, including Israel, was under discussion. The resolution provides that all disarmament proposals made at the current Assembly, including the “declarations” made by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and by Britain’s Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd be forwarded for negotiation by a ten-power committee to meet soon in Geneva.

Israel’s co-sponsorship of the 82-member resolution came close to being negated by the refusal of the Arab states to lend their names as sponsors, unless Israel’s name was removed. It was learned however that the Soviet and American delegations persuaded the Arab delegations to go along as co-sponsors, pointing out that, in this instance, the USSR was willing to accept even the co-sponsorship of Nationalist China, which Moscow does not recognize.

A neutral source here, commenting on that behind-the-scenes fracas, declared: “This only shows that, when the Big Powers stand firm, the usual Arab stubbornness collapses. Everybody is tired of Arab refusal to recognize the fact of Israel’s existence, and more firmness should be shown against the Arab attitude here. The Arab delegations did not dare to keep their names off the resolution’s co-sponsorship list, when it came to a showdown. “

Speaking as the representative of a small nation, Mr, Lourie reminded the Assembly that the smaller countries had their own stake in the discussion of what the Russians have called “general and complete” disarmament. “The problem of comprehensive disarmament, ” he said, “has, for obvious reasons been considered primarily from the viewpoint of agreement between the Big Powers. At the same time, every country, big or small, naturally approaches the issues with its own particular problem in mind. “

The Israel representative pointed out that Israel, situated in the troubled area of the Middle East, believes that “pending general and complete disarmament, the possibility of working out regional schemes, for limitation, appropriately guaranteed, should not

be ignored. Such schemes could and should also reaffirm a renunciation of war and a renewed pledge to abstain from active hostility in any form, whether on land, on sea or in the air.”

Mr. Lourie’s mention of the possibility of a regional disarmament agreement in the Middle East was a reminder to the Assembly that such a plan had been offered by Israel here in the past. It has already been made clear by the British, however, that no such regional pact will be sought at the present time.

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