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Eban to Address General Assembly; Expected to Charge Egypt Seeking

December 6, 1971
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israel’s Foreign Minister Abba Eban will address the General Assembly tomorrow in reply to Egyptian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad’s Friday speech in which the latter urged the General Assembly to “act firmly and effectively” to reverse the effects of the June, 1967 Six-Day War. Riad asked the UN to take “enforcement measures”–diplomatic parlance for sanctions–to compel Israel to withdraw from the occupied Arab territories.

Eban is expected to charge that Egypt is seeking General Assembly support for a resolution that would be unacceptable to Israel and to use Israel’s refusal to comply with it as a pretext for renewing warfare along the Suez Canal. The Israeli Foreign Minister is expected to reaffirm Israel’s interest in continued peace-making efforts by UN mediator Gunnar V. Jarring, but only if no preconditions are attached. The Jarring mission has been suspended since Israel’s rejection of the UN mediator’s memorandum of Feb. 8, 1971, requesting an Israeli commitment to withdrawal. Riad contended that the Israeli rejection amounted to an attempt to “distort” the Security Council’s Resolution 242 and to “provide a license of territorial expansion for Israel.”

The Israeli view, which Eban is expected to re-stale tomorrow, is that compliance would only re-enforce the existing deadlock and increase the danger of new hostilities. He is expected to take the position that a double blow would be inflicted on the Jarring mission and on the cease-fire that has been in effect since Aug. 1970. Some observers here expressed the view that Egypt wants the General Assembly to adopt a resolution adverse to Israel which President Anwar Sadat can cite as justification for prolonging the cease-fire despite his recent warlike statements. They point out that the Egyptian leader faces an embarrassing predicament with junior and middle echelon Egyptian Army and Air Force officers who are restless and primed for a new round of fighting with Israel.

According to some observers, Egypt is not ready to take on Israel despite heavy infusions of military equipment from the Soviet Union including the recent delivery of Tupolev-16 bombers. The Israelis indirectly confirm this view when they say that a new outbreak of warfare would result in defeat for Egypt even more ignominious than in 1967. But the Israelis say they want to avoid renewed shooting which would take a heavy toll of lives on both sides.

Secretary General U Thant meanwhile has received a report from representatives of the African peace mission which reportedly recommends reactivation of the Jarring mission. The report was based on the results of visits to Israel and Egypt last month by the presidents of four African states who are conducting their investigation of Middle East peace prospects on behalf of the Organization for African Unity.

The report was presented to Thant Thursday at his home where he is convalescing from surgery. Earlier he had been given a 25-minute resume of its contents by Dr. Amadou Karin Gaye, Foreign Minister of Senegal. On that basis. Thant described the report, according to a spokesman, as “a substantive and positive contribution towards a peaceful settlement for what is perhaps the most difficult problem that has been facing the UN during the past 26 years.”

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