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U.N. Human Rights Group Urged to Adopt Even-handed Statement

February 7, 1988
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The United States delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Ambassador Armando Valladares, delivered an even-handed statement Friday at the end of the first week of the commission’s annual six-week conference here.

The situation in the Israeli-administered territories topped the agenda of the conference, which some call the “annual hate Israel festival.” But the rhetoric at this year’s conference has been relatively low key, so far, according to the American alternate delegate, Marshal Breger.

One possible reason is the Soviet delegation’s move to exercise restraint on the Arab states. Soviet chief delegate Vladimir Lomeiko told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “We want to help look for a solution. Words of hate will pave no way for a peaceful understanding.”

Valladares, while noting that the United States has made clear its opposition to the use of deadly force, indiscriminate beatings of Palestinian demonstrators and the deportation of activists, stressed as well that Israel bears the responsibility to maintain law and order and also has been confronted “with provocations and, in some cases, life-threatening situations.”

The American envoy declared that “Palestinians and Israelis have a joint responsibility to avoid confrontations that lead to violence and death” and “other states have a responsibility to recognize the right of Israel to live in peace and to avoid acts and language that could cause suffering from all sides.”

Insisting that a just political settlement in the territories “is the only hope of ending the unrest and bringing peace to the region, Valladares urged the Human Rights Commission to “abstain from violent words, just as we urge that all parties in the area abstain from violent deeds.”

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