A new meeting on the Middle East situation proposed by United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim has suffered a blow with Israel's refusal to join.
SV INT: Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim seated at desk at United Nations.
CU: Dr. Waldheim speaking in English.
Dr. Waldheim explained why he proposed a follow-up meeting.
WALDHEIM: "First of all to say, as we are all fully aware, there is a limited number of participants in the Cairo meeting. In addition, other Arab governments are convening separate meetings. Under these circumstances, I believe the United Nations has a useful role to play, to bring all the parties together on neutral ground. That is the reason why I suggested that this sort of follow-up meeting, a meeting of all the parties concerned, should take place in New York in United Nations headquarters."
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Background: A new meeting on the Middle East situation proposed by United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim has suffered a blow with Israel's refusal to join. Dr. Waldheim's proposal was a follow-up meeting on neutral ground to the one called in Cairo by President Anwar Sadat on Egypt. UN officials said the Israeli decision, announced on Wednesday (30 November), meant that the Secretary General's initiative "must be considered dead". But Dr. Waldheim still plans to send a representative to the Cairo meeting. He is Finland's Lieutenant-General Ensio Siilasvou, chief coordinator of UN peacekeeping operations. Apart from Egypt, only the United States and Israel have joined the United Nations in supporting that initiative.