Yost: Syria Bears Large Share for Continuing Mideast Crisis; Malik Softens Stance
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Yost: Syria Bears Large Share for Continuing Mideast Crisis; Malik Softens Stance

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United States Ambassador Charles Yost accused Syria today of bearing “a large share” of responsibility for the 1967 Middle East war and the continuing crisis in that region. Addressing the Security Council in its third day of debate on Israel’s action in Lebanon, Mr. Yost also strongly re-affirmed United States adherence to the Council’s Nov. 22,1967 resolution calling for Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories, and declared his government “fully committed to the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.” Soviet Ambassador Yakob Malik, who engaged in a verbal battle with Mr. Yost and Lord Caradon of Britain yesterday, appeared to soften his position somewhat in light of Mr. Yost’s remarks. “Understanding Mr. Yost to mean that the U.S. favored Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories, the USSR favors continuing the Big Four talks and renewal of the Jarring mission,” the Soviet envoy said. The Security Council will reconvene tomorrow morning.

There were strong indications today that the Arab states are maneuvering to introduce a resolution condemning Israel. Diplomatic sources here said the thrust of the intended Arab resolution would be for sanctions of some kind against Israel. The sources said the Arabs would call for either an arms embargo or an economic boycott. One diplomatic source said the resolution would be an effort, in effect, to isolate the U.S. diplomatically from the more moderate Arab states such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. During the course of this morning’s debate, Israel’s chief representative Yosef Tekoah and Ambassador Edourd Ghorra, of Lebanon, reported a new outbreak of fighting along the Israeli-Lebanese border. The reports came less than 24 hours after Israel announced, and Lebanon confirmed, the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanese territory. Ambassador Yost’s charges against Syria were in reply to remarks by Syria’s Ambassador George J. Tomeh yesterday accusing the U.S. of complicity with Israeli “aggression” in 1967.


“I think it is fair to say that of all the states directly involved in that tragic war, Syria has subsequently made the least effort, indeed practically no effort at all, to bind up the wounds and work toward the peaceful settlement,” Mr. Yost said. “It has rejected Resolution 242 (Nov. 22, 1967), it has refused to receive the Secretary General’s special representative (Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring), it has repeatedly incited and assisted others to break the cease-fire.” In reply to yesterday’s charges by Ambassador Malik, Mr. Yost said the U.S. also believes that the disputing parties should have the possibility to agree mutually “on insubstantial alterations or minor rectifications of the boundaries which previously existed between them. Since any such rectifications or alterations would be subject to the agreement of both sides, they would in no way do violence to the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war or the obligation for Israel to withdraw in accordance with Security Council Resolution 242.”

The Rumanian Mission to the UN released a statement by the Foreign Minister in Bucharest today condemning “the penetration of Israeli armed forces into Lebanon and into the air space of Lebanon. The Rumanian statement said the Israeli incursion “represents an aggressive and brutal infringement upon this state’s sovereignty…and a defiance of the resolutions of the Security Council calling for a cease-fire and a peaceful settlement of the Middle East crisis.” Rumania is the only Communist bloc country that has maintained diplomatic relations with Israel since the June, 1967 war. Ambassador Tekoah announced during the session that Lebanese attacks reoccurred in Upper Galilee this morning. He said irregular forces opened fire on Kfar Blum and two other villages and on an Israeli border patrol, wounding a policeman. He said Israeli return fire killed four Lebanese. Mr. Tekoah said the attacks by bazookas and Katyusha rockets were further proof of the “growing intensity” of Lebanese “terror warfare” and “indiscriminate murder.”

Ambassador Ghorra countered with the report of an Israeli artillery attack on two Lebanese villages between five and five-thirty a.m. local time which he said killed three civilians including a local girl, wounded others and damaged houses. Ambassador Tekoah replied that as he had stated earlier, Israel had returned fire against Lebanese terrorists. For the most party, this morning’s Security Council debate was a continuation of yesterday’s vituperative exchanges between Israel and the U.S. on one side and the Soviet Union, Lebanon and Syria on the other. The Israeli action in Lebanon was condemned by Zambia and Poland. All sides indulged in rhetoric obviously intended for optimum propaganda value and appeared to be playing to the gallery rather than addressing the problems at hand.

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