The United Nations Secretary-General, Dr. Kurt Waldheim predicted that, within a few weeks, Israel and?
GV Pan UN building
SV INT Waldheim speaking
SV Reporter asking question
SV Waldheim answering
WALDHEIM: "Let's be frank. Can we the United Nations solve the problem alone? No, we can't. We need the full co-operation of all parties concerned and of course all the big powers. Let's not be naive; we need their support so why should we be uneasy about this completely new, highly interesting development and it is a positive development. Let me say this very clearly I consider this a very positive development. There should be no complications between the United Nations and the big powers who will solve the Middle East problem. We have to co-operate and we the United nations have to be helpful. It is our duty to be constructive to be helpful and I think in all modesty that we have given this example in Geneva."
REPORTER: "In your opinion to what extent is the speeding up of agreements in Geneva, in whatever stage, ease the energy crisis which is a euphemism for what is Israel petroleum action."
WALDHEIM: "Well I am convinced that progress in the political field will ease the situation in the energy crisis. I think there can be no doubt this. If we are able to solve the political problems -- and this crisis has had a political background -- I think that we stand a good chance to ease the energy crisis."
Initials SC/217 SC232
(The reporter's question contains a mistaken reference to Israeli Petroleum action instead of Arab Petroleum action. A transcript is included but we advise that it is not used. An alternative commentary to cover the question is provided overleaf.)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The United Nations Secretary-General, Dr. Kurt Waldheim predicted that, within a few weeks, Israel and Egypt will agree to a military disengagement along the Suez Canal. He made the prediction yesterday at his first press conference in almost six months.
But, Dr. Waldheim warned that the second phase of the Geneva Peace Conference, which will deal with a full political settlement, will be complex. He said it will likely take a long time to reach a lasting agreement.
The Secretary-General said he expected the U.N. Emergency Force would have a substantial role in any peace settlement. The force would probably continue to maintain a buffer zone between the two sides. He rejected as 'naive' the criticism that the U.N.'s role in Middle East peace-making has not been more central, saying that the U.N. cannot solve the problem alone.
Dr. Waldheim also predicted that a political solution in the Middle East would substantially ease the world energy crisis. He gave his approval to the February 11 conference of oil consuming nations that is being convened by President Nixon. The Secretary-General said he was in favour of a global approach to the energy crisis.