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Egypt Seeking Security Council Meeting to Affirm Assembly Resolution

December 15, 1971
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Egypt was reported to be organizing a drive for an emergency Security Council meeting within 10 days to affirm the pro-Arab resolution adopted last night by a vote of 79-7 with 36 abstentions and 10 absentees. The United States was among those nations which abstained. The resolution-which remains only a recommendation until the Council endorses it-threatens Israel with “enforcement measures,” including military measures, if it does not commit itself in advance of negotiations to withdraw from all the administered territories.

Some political observers here expressed the belief that the US would veto a Council attempt to force Israel to withdraw in advance of negotiations. According to this view, the American delegation continues to be concerned primarily with efforts to achieve an interim Suez pact. (See separate story from Washington.)

Today’s reported moves by Egypt also put Israel, and the world, on notice that if the Council does not accept the Assembly resolution and there is no Israeli commitment to withdrawal by year’s end, the Council’s Resolution 242 should be declared “dead and non-existent” and the man assigned to fulfill its provisions, Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring of Sweden, be relieved of his mission and allowed to resume fulltime his ambassadorial post in Moscow.


Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban had warned before the Assembly vote that the draft resolution under consideration was a deliberate attempt to put the onus for the deadlock squarely on Israel’s shoulders instead of emphasizing the need for mutual extrication. By warning Israel to withdraw or else, which she could not do without forsaking her long-asserted policy against “preconditions,” Eban said, the Assembly was giving the Arabs–especially Egypt–the green light to launch a military attack as the only means of recapturing their territories.

The Arabs would probably quote, as authorization for such a move, Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, granting member states “the inherent right” to “individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs” against one or more of them and the Security Council has not yet acted.

The Assembly resolution, cosponsored by 22 African and Asian nations and incorporating amendments by six European nations, emphasized Israel’s responsibility for the Mideast deadlock and called for a settlement based on the Feb. 8 aide-memoire to Israel and Egypt from Dr. Jarring. It also recommended reactivation of the Jarring mission under the terms of his memo.


Among the supporters of the Assembly resolution were France, England, Belgium, Argentina, the Netherlands, Italy, Japan, India, Pakistan and nations comprising the Soviet Arab bloc. The abstentions included Canada, Brazil, Denmark, Sweden, Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Zaire (formerly Congo-Kinshasa) and China. The latter complained that the draft insufficiently condemned Israeli “aggression” and made no mention of Palestinian “liberation.”

The six states joining Israel in lonely opposition were Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Uruguay. The absentees included South Africa, Albania and Iraq. The Assembly rejected two draft resolutions backed by Israel, one sponsored by Barbados and Ghana, the other by Costa Rica, El Salvador, Haiti and Uruguay. Both endorsed the Jarring mission in general terms. Also defeated was a Sengalese amendment, supported by Israel, that also took a moderate line and also avoided pressuring Israel to withdraw.

The American delegation abstained on all three resolutions. Ambassador Christopher H. Phillips explained that the delegation had abstained on the draft that was finally adopted by the Assembly because its wording would alter the balance of Resolution 242 and that the practical effect of the resolution would not be to resolve the differences between the parties which Dr. Jarring had been unable to overcome. He noted that a more general resolution would have been preferable in order to leave open as many options as possible for Dr. Jarring, Phillips stated, however, that the US policy had not changed in any way.

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