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        Security Council
20 January 1988


Letter dated 20 January 1988 from the representative of
the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to the Secretary-General

[Original: Russian]
[20 January 1988]

I have the honour to transmit to you herewith a letter dated 19 January 1988 from Mr. E. A. Shevardnadze, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

I should be grateful if you would have this letter circulated as an official document of the General Assembly and of the Security Council.

Permanent Representative of the
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
to the United Nations

* Circulated under the double symbol A/43/96-S/19442.


Recent events have again focused the attention of the international community on the situation in the Middle East. Massive Palestinian demonstrations in the territories occupied by Israel have reached the levels of a popular uprising. They show in a convincing manner the dangerous nature of the delusions of those who try at any cost to keep the land of others acquired through the use of armed force, who believe that time in the final analysis works to perpetuate the results of aggression and who refuse to look in a serious and business-like manner for means of unblocking the situation in the Middle East.

The unabated tensions in the Middle East adversely affect the political atmosphere not only in that region, but also in the international arena as a whole, and they hamper progress towards a more secure world. All States that are seriously interested in ensuring general security have a collective responsibility to reverse the dangerous trends in the Middle East.

We in the Soviet Union are gratified that the international community is becoming ever more deeply convinced of the need to find an immediate political settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This is evidenced by the growing support for the idea of an international conference on the Middle East as the only realistic and reliable means of achieving such a settlement. This support was clearly reflected at the recent forty-second session of the General Assembly. Of particular urgency now is the need to transform the political will of States reflected in the General Assembly's decisions into specific and practical steps to solve the hard-core problems of the Middle East. Encouraging trends in international life are creating favourable conditions for that process.

We are convinced that the United Nations possesses both the high prestige and the necessary potential to revitalize the process of a Middle East settlement. It has considerable untapped possibilities, which should be utilized to the fullest. Above all, we believe that the Security Council, as the primary United Nations body responsible for the maintenance of universal peace, should be immediately involved in the practical process of setting up and putting in motion the mechanism of the international conference on the Middle East, which should be designed to find, on the basis of multilateral efforts, a reasonable balance among the interests of all the parties and to ensure lasting peace and security in the region.

We suggest that the members of the Security Council proceed to consultations to consider the relevant questions. The initiative in this matter, we believe, could belong to the permanent members of the Council. Conclusions and recommendations arrived at during such consultations could be considered at a formal meeting of the Council. In view of the particular importance of this question for the maintenance of international security, we propose that such a meeting should be held at the foreign minister level. We hope that you, for your part, will use the means at your disposal and your personal authority to contribute effectively to a general agreement on immediate practical steps for the convening of an international conference on the Middle East.
Minister for Foreign Affairs
of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

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