Assembly Asks All States to Support Middle East Peace Conference

Article excerpt

Assembly asks all states to support Middle East peace conference

The convening under United Nations auspices of an international peace conference on the Middle East has been again endorsed by the General Assembly, as was the call for a creation of a preparatory committee for that meeting. The proposal for a global peace meeting to settle the 40-year-old conflict emanated from the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, held in Geneva in 1983.

Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, who has been monitoring consultations on the convening of such a meeting for the past four years, reported that he was "encouraged" by the increased interest in such a meeting, and by "indications of greater flexibility" among the parties concerned.

None of the Security Council members now opposed in principle the idea of such a conference, he added. However, sufficient agreement did not yet exist among the parties directly concerned to convene it. He said he would intensify his contacts with the parties to find ways to bridge the "very deep differences" between them.

All States that had not done so were asked by the world body to lend their support to the convening of the international peace conference. Participants should include the five permanent members of the Security Council and all parties to the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), "on an equal footing", the Assembly said.

The Assembly stipulated that a preparatory committee be established within the framework of the Security Council, with the participation of the permanent members of the Council.

The conference, it declared, would be the "appropriate way to a peaceful, comprehensive and just settlement of the conflict which will ensure the restoration of the occupied Arab territories and the solution of the Palestinian question in all its aspects and guarantee the realization of the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian Arab people". The question of Palestine, the Assembly reaffirmed, was the core of the conflict in the region.

The Assembly acted after considering two closely related items -- the situation in the Middle East and the question of Palestine. It adopted eight resolutions on various aspects of these situations (42/66 A-D and 42/209 A-D), all of which were opposed by Israel, and all but one -- on the status of Jerusalem -- by the United States.

In its texts, the 159-member body declared that peace in the Middle East "is indivisible" and must be based on a comprehensive solution under United Nations auspices that would ensure complete and unconditional withdrawal by Israel from occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories, including Jerusalem, and which would enable the Palestinian people to exercise its inalienable rights, including "the right to return and the right to self-determination, national independence and the establishment of its independent sovereign State in Palestine".

Israel's imposition of its laws, jurisdiction and administration on Jerusalem was illegal, the Assembly declared. It also deplored the transfer by some States of their diplomatic missions to Jerusalem in violation of Security Council resolution 478 (1980). Israel's continued occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights constituted an "act of aggression", the Assembly said.

The Assembly also rejected all agreements and arrangements which violated the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and contradicted the principles of a just and comprehensive solution to the Middle East problem.

Agreements on strategic cooperation between the United States and Israel was considered to 0ave encourage Israel's "aggressive and expansionist policies" in occupied territories. All States were called on to suspend military, economic, financial and technological assistance to Israel and to sever diplomatic, trade and cultural relations with it. …