UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Oct. 28)
Foreign Minister Abba Eban, in an impassioned appeal today to the General Assembly, urged that body to “vigorously refuse” to “erode” or “weaken” Security Council Resolution 242 of Nov. 22, 1967, which would “undermine the agreement so arduously achieved.” Excoriating Egypt for being the “unrepentant author” of a “murderous” aggression against Israel, Mr. Eban reaffirmed that the Egyptian violations of the truce accord are “the sole obstacle” to resumption of peace negotiations. The Israeli Foreign Minister, who spoke for 45 minutes, charged the international debate called for by Egypt had been “degraded” by the “wicked charge” of “Israeli aggression” delivered Monday in the Assembly by Egyptian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad. Mr. Eban, by the tenor and wording of his address, firmly dispelled some published reports that Israel was softening its stand on a missile rollback. Saudi Arabian Ambassador Jamil M. Baroody followed Mr. Eban with a condemnation of Zionism. The “acrimonious” condemnation of Israel in the Assembly Monday by the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Mahmoud Riad, would “gravely endanger” the chances for peace if endorsed by the Assembly, Mr. Eban declared. He
He branded Mr. Riad’s speech as one that “hangs like a heavy cloud” over the Assembly, and declared that “rancor and hostility flow from every line.” Egypt, Mr. Eban said, has launched an “international campaign of invective” designed “to prevent the peace dialogue, not to facilitate it.” Mr. Riad, said the Israeli Foreign Minister, had the “effrontery” to charge “Israeli aggression” in June, 1967, the real aggression being Egypt’s attempt “to strangle Israel to death.” Egypt, Mr. Eban continued, has “massively violated” the standstill provisions of the cease-fire in a “perfidious” manner, wrecking the “equilibrium” achieved by the temporary truce. That Arab nation, he charged, has 500-600 SAM-2s and SAM-3s in the truce zone, compared with 17 prior to Aug. 8, when the cease-fire truce began, and one-third of them are SAM-3s manned exclusively by 3,000 Soviet personnel. The purpose of the missiles, Mr. Eban declared, is “to prepare for the resumption of war,” and Israel cannot return to the Jarring talks “under this threat.” The Israeli reasserted that mutual “confidence” is the key to a Mideast peace. The Assembly, Mr. Eban continued, “would injure serious potentialities” for peace if it endorsed Mr. Riad’s charges and passed the anti-Israel measure sought by Egypt. Any such measure, he said, “would be offensive to the Charter which we have all signed.”
Besides, Mr. Eban declared, any Assembly resolution on the Mideast would contravene Article 12 of the Charter, as “the Security Council is exercising its function in respect of this situation.” Resolution 242, he warned, “should not be eroded,” exclaiming: “Mr. Riad does not mention the Security Council resolution once without distortion…Mr. Riad misquotes the resolution directly.” An example of such “distortion,” he said, was the Egyptian’s contention that Israel is required to withdraw from “the territories” occupied, rather than the “deliberately” amorphous “territories.” Mr. Eban emphasized that his country’s continued occupation of Arab areas constituted “not arbitrary expansion but legitimate security.” The validity of all engagements and contracts voluntarily signed by nations should be the United Nations’ chief concern, Mr. Eban went on. The cease-fire pact, he said, is “an international document of primary importance…. a crucial test of good will and pacific intention,” and the Assembly should avoid “another pitfall” and reject compromising motions. Assembly President Edvard I. Hambro of Norway announced after Mr. Eban’s remarks that he had formally received the African resolution calling on Israel to return to the Jarring talks within two months. Its sponsors are Afghanistan, Burundi, Cameroon, Ceylon, Guinea, India, Mall, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Yugoslavia and Zambia.