UN Security Council ready to act on Iran-Iraq conflict
United Nations, N.Y.
In view of the rapidly deteriorating situation in the Gulf region, UN Secretary- General Kurt Waldheim, has asked for an informal meeting of the Security Council.
Neither Iran, which by taking hostages has become estranged from the UN, nor Iraq, which appears to be the aggressor in their current conlict, is in a good position to call the UN for assistance.
The Secretary-General had previously sounded out a number of key delegates who concurred with his view that the United Nations could not simply watch the confict escalating and do nothing at a time when its General Assembly was meeting.
According to diplomats, it is difficult to predict which way the diplomatic game at the UN Security Council will be played. The United States and the Soviet Union have not decided who, if anybody, they are backing. The nonaligned are split down the middle. So are the Arab and Islamic nations.
Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromkyo made a long, fighting speech Sept. 23 at the assembly, replying to a short, low-key speech by US Secretary of State Edmund Muskie.
He stressed that the international situation "has become more complicated," but laid responsibility for the tensions at the doorstep of the US. American "bellicose" initiatives singled out were:
* New medium-range missile systems to be installed in Western Europe.
* Indefinite postponement by the US of the ratification of the SALT II treaty.
* The "new nuclear strategy" aimed at making a "limited nuclear war" seem acceptable.
* US declaration that certain regions belong to its "sphere of vital interest."
* US attempts at destabilizing the situation in Indochina by backing the "Peking hegemonists."
* Contributing to increased tensions in the Middle East by joining in "the separatist collusion with Israel and Egypt."
On Afghanistan, Mr. Gromkyo was more defensive, simply restating the position of his government: "The USSR will withdraw its troops as soon as the reasons for the introduction of such a contingent are removed -- not before."
While indicating that the USSR would not allow the balance between NATO and the Warsaw Pact to be upset, he attempted, as he does every year, to present a peaceful, constructive image. He said, "The USSR does not seek military superiority." His own suggestions to "reduce dangers of war."
1. Existing military alliances should not admit new members (probably aimed at Spain's possible entry into NATO).
2. All states should decide not to increase their conventional forces as a first step to their subsequent reduction.
3. NATO and the Warsaw Pact should simultaneously be dissolved.