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UNITED
NATIONS
A S

        General Assembly
        Security Council
Distr.
GENERAL
A/40/779
S/17581

22 October 1985

Original: English

GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Fortieth session
Agenda item 38
THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST
SECURITY COUNCIL
Fortieth year



Report of the Secretary-General


CONTENTS
Paragraphs
Page
I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.
VIII.
INTRODUCTION
MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS AND UNITED NATIONS
PEACE-KEEPING ACTIVITIES
SITUATION IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
PALESTINE REFUGEE PROBLEMS
QUESTION OF PALESTINE
SEARCH FOR A PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT
OBSERVATIONS
1
2 - 11
12 - 18
19 - 22
23 - 26
27 - 32
33 - 42
2
2
4
6
7
8
10
I. INTRODUCTION


1. The present report is submitted in pursuance of General Assembly resolution 39/146 A of 14 December 1984. In that resolution, the Assembly dealt with various aspects of the situation in the Middle East and requested the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council periodically on the development of the situation and to submit to the Assembly at its fortieth session a report covering the developments in the Middle East in all their aspects. The report is based mainly on information available in United Nations documents, to which references are made whenever appropriate.

II. MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS AND UNITED NATIONS PEACE-KEEPING ACTIVITIES

2. The status of the cease-fire in the Middle East and the activities of the United Nations peace-keeping operations in the area up to October 1984 were dealt with in the report of the Secretary-General of 26 October 1984 (A,/39/600-S/16792, paras. 2-8). The activities of the United Nations in this field have remained essentially the same. There continue to be three United Nations peace-keeping operations in the area: two peace-keeping forces, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL); and one observer mission, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO).

(a) United Nations Disengagement Observer Force

3. UNDOF, with some 1,300 troops provided by Austria, Canada, Finland and Poland, is deployed between the Israeli and Syrian forces on the Golan Heights in accordance with the disengagement agreement concluded between Israel and the Syrian Arab Republic in May 1974. A group of UNTSO observers is detailed to the Force and assists it in the performance of its tasks. The main functions of the Force are to supervise the cease-fire between the Israeli and Syrian forces and to man the area of separation established by the disengagement agreement. The mandate of UNDOF has been extended twice by the Security Council during the reporting period, the last time on 21 May 1985 for a further period of six months, until 30 November 1985 (resolution 563 (1985)).

4. The activities of the Force since October 1984 are described in two reports of the Secretary-General to the Security Council, dated 16 November 1984 and 13 May 1985 (S/16829 and S/17177). As reported by the Secretary-General, the situation in the Israel-Syria sector has remained generally quiet; UNDOF has continued to perform its functions effectively with the co-operation of the parties, and there have been no serious incidents.

(b) United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon

5. UNIFIL, which is deployed in southern Lebanon, was established by the Security Council on 19 March 1978, following the first Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Its terms of reference were - and still are - to confirm the withdrawal of the Israeli forces as called for by the Security Council, to restore international peace and security and to assist the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area.

6. The mandate of the Force has since been extended as necessary, the last time on 17 October 1985 for a further period of six months until 19 April 1986 (resolution 575 (1985)). The authorized strength of UNIFIL is 7,000, but because of its reduced activities, it has currently some 5,700 troops, provided by Fiji, Finland, France, Ghana, Ireland, Italy, Nepal, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. A group, of UNTSO observers assists the Force in the performance of its tasks.

7. The activities of UNIFIL from October 1984 until October 1985 are described in the Secretary-General's reports of 11 April and 10 October 1985 to the Security Council (S/17093 and S/17557).

(c) United Nations Truce Supervision Organization

8. As indicated in the preceding sections, observers of UNTSO have continued to assist UNDOF and UNIFIL in the performance of their tasks. In addition, UNTSO conducts two observation operations of its own, the Observer Group in Beirut and the Observer Group in Egypt.

9. The Observer Group in Beirut was set up by the Security Council in August 1982 following the first incursion of Israeli troops into West Beirut. Its task was to monitor the situation in and around Beirut with particular emphasis on developments involving Israeli forces and Palestinians. Since the withdrawal of the Israeli forces from the Beirut area in September 1983, the activities of the Observer Group have been reduced and its total strength brought down from 50 to 18.

10. When the mandate of the second United Nations Emergency Force lapsed in July 1979, the then Secretary-General stated that, since the withdrawal of the Force was without prejudice to the continued presence of the UNTSO observers in the area, it was his intention to ensure the further functioning of UNTSO in accordance with existing decisions of the Security Council. On this basis, a number of UNTSO observers have remained in Egypt with the agreement of the Egyptian Government. The Observer Group in Egypt has a total strength of about 50 observers. It maintains, in addition to a liaison office in Cairo, five observation posts in the Sinai.

11. Since the thirty-ninth session a number of communications have been addressed to the President of the Security Council and the Secretary-General on various aspects of the situation. Those communications, which have been circulated as official documents of the General Assembly and/or the Security Council, were sent by Australia (S/17191), India on behalf of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries (S/17008 and A/40/163), Israel (A/40/58- S/16871, S/17007 and A/40/165, A/40/253-S-17110, A/40/270 and Corr.1-S/17132 and Corr.1, A/40/301-S/17182, A/40/314-S/17192, A/40/339-S/17293, A/40/427-S/17320, A/40/503-S/17357, A/40/567-S/17412, A/40/603-S/17438, S/17448 and A/40/620, A/40/666-S/17502), Italy on behalf of the Ten States Members of the European Community (A/40/286-S/17153), Jordan (A/40/634-S/17462), Lebanon (S/16953 and A/40/127), S/16974 and Add.1 and A/40/148 and Add.1, A/40/156-S/16990, A/40/158-S/16997, A/40/205-S/17055, S/17062, A/40/223-S/17080, A/40/462 and Corr.1-S/17325 and Corr.1), the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (S/17195) and the United States of America (A/40/504-S/17358). Further, two communications were received from the countries contributing troops to UNIFIL (S/17067 and S/17251). Communications were also received from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and were circulated at the request of Egypt (S/16900), Qatar (A/40/123-S/16946) and the United Arab Emirates (A/40/219-S/17075, A/40/225-S/17085, A/40/236-S/17106, A/40/254-S/17111).

III. SITUATION IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

12. The action taken by the United Nations prior to October 1984 on the situation in the occupied territories was outlined in the Secretary-General's report of 26 October 1984 (A/39/600-S/16792, paras. 11-17).

13. The General Assembly, at its thirty-ninth session, after considering the report of the Special committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories (A/39/591), which was composed of Senegal, Sri Lanka and Yugoslavia, adopted resolutions 39/95 A to H on 14 December 1984. By these resolutions, the General Assembly, inter alia, condemned Israel for its failure to comply with resolution 38/79 A and demanded the immediate release of all prisoners, including Ziyad Abu Eain, who were duly registered to be freed (39/95 A); reaffirmed that the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, 1/ was applicable to the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem, and demanded that Israel acknowledge and comply with its provisions (resolution 39/95 B); demanded that the Government of Israel desist forthwith from taking any action which would result in changing the legal status, geographical nature or demographic composition of the occupied territories (resolution 39/95 C); demanded that Israel desist forthwith from certain policies and practices mentioned in the resolution and renewed the mandate of the Special Committee (resolution 39/95 D); demanded that the Government of Israel rescind the expulsion of the Mayors of Hebron and Halhul and the Sharia Judge of Hebron and that it facilitate their immediate return (resolution 39/95 E); determined that all legislative and administrative actions taken or to be taken by Israel that purported to alter the character and legal status of the Syrian Arab Golan Heights were null and void and constituted a violation of international law (resolution 39/95 F); condemned Israeli policies and practices against Palestinian students and faculty in educational institutions in the occupied Palestinian territories and demanded that Israel rescind all measures against all educational institutions, and ensure their freedom and refrain from hindering their effective operation (resolution 39/95 G); and demanded that Israel inform the Secretary- General of the results of the investigations and prosecution relevant to the assassination attempts against the Mayors of Nablus, Ramallah and Al Bireh (resolution 39/95 H).

14. On 19 February 1985, the Commission on Human Rights adopted resolutions 1985/1 A and B concerning the question of the violation of human rights in the occupied territories. In those resolutions the Commission condemned Israeli policies and practices in the occupied territories along lines similar to those of General Assembly resolution 39/95 D. On the same date, the Commission adopted resolution 1985/2 concerning the human rights situation in occupied Syrian territory, in which it declared once more that Israel's decision of 14 December 1981 to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan Heights had no international legal validity or effect and called upon Israel to rescind it and to cease its acts of terrorism directed against Syrian citizens.

15. The Security Council considered the situation in the occupied territories during two meetings on 12 and 13 September 1985 (S/PV.2604 and Corr.1 and S/PV.2605 and Corr.1). On 13 September, the Council voted on a draft resolution submitted by six members, in which it would have deplored repressive measures taken by Israel against the civilian Palestinian population in the occupied territories, called upon Israel to stop those measures and to abide scrupulously by the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of civilian Persons in Time of War (S/17459). The draft was not adopted, owing to the negative vote of a permanent member of the Council.

16. The Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories held periodic meetings in pursuance of resolution 39/95 D. Information was gathered from a variety of sources, including oral testimony and written communications. The Special Committee reviewed this information and assessed the human rights situation in the occupied territories with a view to deciding whether any action was required. The report of the Special Committee under resolution 38/79 D has been circulated as document A/40/702.

17. During its thirty-ninth session, the General Assembly also adopted resolution 39/101 concerning Israel's decision to build a canal linking the Mediterranean Sea to the Dead Sea, resolution 39/169 concerning living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories, and decision 39/442 concerning Israeli economic practices in the occupied Palestinian and other Arab, territories. The reports of the Secretary- General on the last two questions have been circulated as documents A/40/373-E/1985/99 and A/40/381-E/1985/105. A report in pursuance of resolution 39/101 will be submitted shortly by the Secretary-General.

18. Since the thirty-ninth session, a number of communications have been addressed to the President of the Security Council or the Secretary-General on various aspects of the situation in the occupied territories. Those communications, which have been circulated as official documents of the General Assembly and the Security Council, were sent by Israel (A/40/528-S/17379) and Jordan (A/40/179-S/17035, A/40/470-S/17332, A/40/517-S/17371). Communications were also received from PLO and were circulated at the request of Democratic Yemen (A/40/162-S/17003, A/40/167-S/17012), Qatar (A/40/608-S/17439, A/40/610-S/17445, A/40/624-S/17451, A/40/625-S/17452, A/40/679-S/17493) and the United Arab Emirates (A/40/237-S/17107).

IV. PALESTINE REFUGEE PROBLEM

19. The Palestine refugee problem and the efforts of the United Nations to assist the refugees up to September 1983 were dealt with in the report of the Secretary-General of 30 September 1983 (A/39/600-S/16792, paras. 20-22).

20. Following its consideration, at its thirty-ninth session, of the report of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for the period 1 July 1983 to 20 June 1984, 2/ the General Assembly adopted 11 resolutions on 14 December 1984. In resolution 39/99 A, the Assembly noted with regret that repatriation or compensation of the refugees, as provided for in paragraph 11 of Assembly resolution 194 (III), had not been effected, that no substantial progress had been made in the program endorsed by the Assembly in paragraph 2 of its resolution 513 (VI) for the reintegration of refugees either by repatriation or resettlement and that, therefore, the situation of the refugees continued to be a matter of serious concern; expressed its thanks to the Commissioner-General and to all the staff of UNRWA, recognizing that the Agency was doing all it could within the limits of available resources; reiterated its request that the headquarters of UNRWA should be relocated to its former site within its area of operations as soon as practicable; noted with regret that the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine had been unable to find a means of achieving progress in the implementation of paragraph 11 of Assembly resolution 194 (III) and requested the Commission to exert continued efforts towards the implementation of that paragraph and to report to the Assembly as appropriate, but not later than 1 September 1985; directed attention to the continuing seriousness of the financial position of UNRWA as outlined in the report of the Commissioner-General; noted with concern that, despite the commendable and successful efforts of the Commissioner-General to collect additional contributions, this increased level of income to UNRWA was still insufficient to cover essential budget requirements in 1984; and called upon all Governments as a matter of urgency to make the most generous efforts possible to meet the anticipated needs of UNRWA.

21. The other resolutions adopted by the General Assembly dealt with the Working Group on the Financing of UNRWA (resolution 39/99 B), assistance to persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities (resolution 39/99 C), offers by Member States of grants and scholarships for higher education, including vocational training, for Palestine refugees (resolution 39/99 D), Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip (resolution 39/99 E), resumption of the ration distribution to Palestine refugees (resolution 39/99 F), population and refugees displaced since 1967 (resolution 39/99 G), revenues derived from Palestine refugee properties (resolution 39/99 H), protection of Palestine refugees (resolution 39/99 1), Palestine refugees in the West Bank (resolution 39/99 J), and the University of Jerusalem "Al Quds" for Palestine refugees (resolution 39/99 K).

22. The situation of the Palestine refugees and the activities of UNRWA since the adoption of these resolutions are described in the annual report of the Commissioner- General of UNRWA for the period 1 July 1984 to 30 June 1985. 3/ The report of the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine under resolution 39/99 A has been circulated as document A/40/580, and the reports of the Secretary-General under resolutions 39/99 D, E, F, G, H, I, J and K have been circulated as documents A/40/612, A/40/613, A/40/766, A/40/614, A/40/616, A/40/756, A/40/615 and A/40/543. In addition, the report of the Working Group on the Financing of UNRWA under resolutions 39/99 B will he before the General Assembly at its fortieth session.

V. QUESTION OF PALESTINE

23. The action taken by the United Nations on the question of Palestine up to October 1984 was outlined in the report of the Secretary-General of 26 October 1984 (A/39/600- S/16792, paras. 24-25).

24. At its thirty-ninth session, on 11 December 1984, the General Assembly adopted four resolutions under the agenda item entitled "Question of Palestine". In resolution 39/49 A, the Assembly endorsed the recommendations of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and authorized it to continue to exert all efforts to promote their implementation. In resolution 39/49 B, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to ensure that the Division for Palestinian Rights continued to discharge the tasks detailed in previous resolutions. In resolution 39/49 C, the Assembly requested that the Department of Public Information disseminate all information on the activities of the United Nations system relating to Palestine and take certain measures to that end. In resolution 39/49 D, the Assembly reaffirmed its endorsement of the call for convening the International Peace Conference on the Middle East in conformity with the provisions of resolution 38/58 C and requested the Secretary-General, in consultation with the Security Council, to continue his efforts with a view to convening the Conference.

25. The report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People appears in document A/40/35. 4/ The report requested of the Secretary- General in resolution 39/49 D concerning the convening of an international peace conference on the middle East has been circulated as document A/40/168-S/17014.

26. Since the thirty-ninth session, a number of communications have been addressed to the President of the Security Council or the Secretary-General on various aspects of the question of Palestine. Those communications, which have been circulated as official documents of the General Assembly and/or the Security Council, were sent by Lebanon (A/40/537-S/17389) and the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (A/40/84-S/16896, A/40/119-S/16943, A/40/128-S/16954, A/40/183-S/17043, A/40/215-S/17069, A/40/281-S/17146, A/40/339-S/17219, A/40/480-S/173401 A/40/494-S/17346, A/40/523-S/17375, A/40/540-S/17392, A/40/628-S/174513). A communication was also received from PLO and circulated at the request of Egypt (S/17210).

VI. SEARCH FOR A PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT

27. An outline of developments relating to the search for a peaceful settlement of the Middle East problem from November 1967 until October 1984 may be found in the Secretary-General's reports of 18 May 1973 (S/10929), 17 October 1,978 (A/33/311-S/12896), 24 October 1979 (A/34/584-S/13578), 24 October 1980 (A/35/563-S/14234), 11 November 1981 (A/36/655-S/14746), 12 October 1982 (A/37/525-S/15451), 30 September 1983 (A/38/458- S/16015) and 26 October 1984 (A/39/600-S/16792).

28. At its thirty-ninth session, on 14 December 1984, the General Assembly adopted three resolutions concerning the situation in the Middle East. In resolution 39/146 A, the Assembly reaffirmed its conviction that the question of Palestine was the core of the conflict in the Middle East and that no comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region would be achieved without the full exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable national rights reaffirmed that a just and comprehensive settlement of the situation in the Middle East could not be achieved without the participation on an equal footing of all the parties to the conflict, including PLO; declared that peace in the Middle East was indivisible and must be based on a comprehensive, just and lasting solution under the auspices of the United Nations; considered the Arab Peace Plan (A/37/696-S/15510, annex) adopted unanimously at the Twelfth Arab Summit Conference at Fez as an important contribution towards the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace; condemned Israel's continued occupation of the Palestinian and other Arab territories and demanded the immediate, unconditional and total withdrawal of Israel from all the territories occupied since June 19671 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; determined that Israel's decision to annex Jerusalem and to declare it as its "capital" as well as the measures to alter its physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and status were null and void and demanded that they be rescinded immediately; condemned Israel's aggression, policies and practices against the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories and outside, particularly Palestinians in Lebanon; strongly condemned Israel's annexationist policies and practices in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights; considered that the agreements on strategic co-operation between the United States of America and Israel signed on 30 November 1981, together with the recent accords concluded in that context, would encourage Israel to pursue its aggressive and expansionist policies and practices; called upon all States to put an end to the flow to Israel of any military, economic and financial aid, as well as of human resources, aimed at encouraging it to pursue its aggressive policies against the Arab countries and the Palestinian people; strongly condemned the collaboration between Israel and South Africa; and reaffirmed its call for the convening of an international peace conference on the Middle East as specified in paragraph 5 of the Geneva Declaration 5/ on Palestine. The other parts of General Assembly resolution 39/146 concern Israeli policies in the Syrian Golan Heights and the other occupied territories (resolution 39/146 B) and the transfer of diplomatic missions to Jerusalem (resolution 39/146 C).

29. The above resolutions have been brought to the attention of Member States, and a report of the Secretary-General, including the comments received from Member States on the resolution, has been circulated as document A/40/668.

30. During the reporting period, the Secretary-General has pursued his contacts with the parties to the Middle East conflict and with others concerned regarding the search for a peaceful settlement of that conflict, including the convening of an international conference as recommended by the General Assembly.

31. In this connection, the Government of Jordan informed the Secretary-General of an agreement reached by King Hussein and Chairman Arafat of PLO on 11 February 1985, under which Jordan and the PLO would move together toward the achievement of a peaceful and just settlement of the Middle East crisis and the termination of Israeli occupation of the occupied Arab territories. The Government of Jordan kept the Secretary-General informed of the efforts undertaken subsequently by King Hussein to bring about negotiations under the auspices of an international conference with the participation of the five Permanent Members of the Security Council and all the parties to the conflict. In this connection, it emphasized that the international conference should be in the framework of the United Nations.

32. Since the thirty-ninth session of the General Assembly, a number of communications have been addressed to the Secretary-General on various aspects of the situation in the Middle East. In addition to those referred to in the preceding sections of the present report (paras. 11, 18 and 26), communications were received from Indonesia (A/40/276- S/17138), Italy on behalf of the Ten States Members of the European Community (A/40/291- S/17162), Morocco (A/40/564 and Corr.1), the Syrian Arab Republic (A/40/584) and Yemen (A/40/173-S/17033).

VII. OBSERVATIONS

33. The search for a peaceful settlement of the Middle East problem remains elusive and the situation in the Middle East continues to be unstable. During the past year, the General Assembly renewed its call for an international peace conference on the Middle East and King Hussein of Jordan launched the peace initiative mentioned in paragraph 31 above. But the efforts undertaken in both cases have not so far achieved the desired results.

34. The United Nations has been involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East and its root cause, the Palestine problem, since the early years of the Organization. It has probably devoted to this issue more time and more attention than to any other international problem.

35. Until 1977 the United Nations played an important role in the search for a peaceful settlement of the Middle East problem and in this endeavor it enjoyed the firm backing of the vast majority of the Members of the Organization. I recall the active support and co-operation which major powers extended to the United Nations in the peace process in the Middle East. Since then, while its peace-keeping operations have continued to play an indispensable role in the area, the increasingly divergent policies among the permanent members of the Security Council on the Middle East are one of the factors which have made it more difficult to use the United Nations machinery in the peace process.

38. During recent years, a number of peace proposals have been Put forward by individual Governments or groups of Governments. These include the proposals made by President Reagan of the United States on 1 September 1982, the Declaration adopted by the Twelfth Arab Summit Conference at Fez on 9 September 1982 and the proposals of the Soviet Union dated 15 September 1982 and 29 July 1984. I have mentioned earlier in this report King Hussein's peace initiative which is based on an agreement concluded on 11 February 1985 by him and the Chairman of PLO on the achievement of a settlement of the Middle East problem. Although those proposals for various reasons are so far unacceptable to one or another of the parties concerned, they all contain important elements that could contribute to the formulation of a common approach.

36. I greatly regret this trend and very much hope that it may soon be reversed. I continue to believe that the Middle East conflict with its many complex and interrelated issues can ultimately be fully resolved only by a comprehensive settlement covering all its aspects and involving all the parties concerned, and that such a settlement can be best achieved within the framework of the United Nations. I also believe that the support of the major Powers, especially the Soviet Union and the United States, is essential for any lasting settlement in the area.

37. The efforts made within the United Nations framework in the past have Produced some important achievements which should not be allowed to be wasted. While the positions of the various parties to the Middle East conflict remain far apart, there is general acceptance of Security Council resolution 242 (1967) which spelled out two important principles for a settlement in the Middle East, namely, the withdrawal of the Israeli forces from occupied territories and, secondly, respect and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries. In addition to these two principles, there is also a wide measure of agreement that in any settlement there must be a satisfactory resolution of the Palestine problem based on the recognition of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including self-determination.

39. In commenting on the difficulties encountered in my efforts towards the convening of an international peace conference as called for by the General Assembly, I have suggested on several occasions that the machinery of the Security Council be used to enhance the search for a settlement in the Middle East. The Council has a major and universally recognized responsibility for this complex and potentially explosive problem and could, in my opinion, play a vital role in the evolution of a just and lasting settlement. Naturally, other avenues of the United Nations could also be explored to provide the possibilities that the search for a lasting peace would require.

40. I am aware of the many difficulties facing this endeavor. Its success will depend on the agreement and co-operation of the major Powers without which the machinery of the United Nations cannot be used effectively. It will also require that the parties directly concerned be willing to make the necessary accommodations
and adjustments without which no progress is possible.

41. In the contacts I have had with leaders of the parties concerned during the past weeks, I have gained the impression that they are fully conscious of the urgency of finding an agreed settlement of this most complex problem and of the dangers that further delay could entail for their region and beyond. I have also noted that although their respective positions on the basic issues have remained far apart, there have been some signs of flexibility as regards the negotiating process. I continue to believe that it would be possible to work out a generally acceptable procedure which would enable the parties to embark on a negotiating process if a determined effort were made by all concerned with the full support of other Governments in a position to help. I strongly feel that, despite the existing difficulties, a new and determined effort should be made to explore and to
use the various possibilities of the United Nations machinery appropriately to Promote progress in the peace process in the Middle East.

42. In my annual report to the General Assembly on this fortieth anniversary of the United Nations, I stated that "we face today a world of almost infinite promise which is also a world of potentially terminal danger". 6/ In an age when technology threatens to run ahead of our capacity to restrain the use of increasingly destructive weapons, no regional conflicts confront the United Nations with a choice between those alternatives more urgently than the middle East problem. I earnestly hope that the right choice will be made by the parties concerned and by all the Governments in a position to help.


Notes

1/ United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 75, No. 973, p. 287.

2/ Official Records of the General Assembly, Thirty-ninth Session, Supplement No. 13 (A/39/13).

3/ Ibid., Fortieth Session, Supplement No. 13 (A/40/13).

4/ Ibid., Supplement No. 35 (A/40/35).

5/ Report of the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, Geneva, 29 August-7 September 1983 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.83.I.21), chap. 1, sect. A.

6/ Official Records of the General Assembly, Fortieth Session, Supplement No. 1 (A/40/1).

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