Brzezinski: no more snafus at UN
The White House has revised procedures to prevent another "breakdown of communications" such as occurred before the March 1 US vote condemning Israel in the United Nations.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
This was one of the points made in a wide-ranging press conference by Zbigniew Brzezinski, assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. He also appealed for Western solidarity in the Afghanistan crisis, argued that Pakistan has not rebuffed the United States by rejecting $400 million in military aid, and said the Carter administration lines up with Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek in criticizing the Israeli government's expropriation of 1,000 acres of Arab land east of Jerusalem.
The fact that it was Mr. Brzezinski who held the unusual March 12 breakfast press conference, instead of Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, who was in New York , raised speculation of a change in top-echelon Carter advisers after the March 1 US vote fiasco in the United Nations. President Carter publicly repudiated the US vote in the UN Security Council supporting a resolution demanding that Israel dismantle its settlements in the occupied territories, "including Jerusalem." Mr. Vance took blame for the incident, which Mr. Carter called "a failure to communicate." Mr. Vance has announced he will retire with the next inaugural, making him a lame-duck secretary.
Without explaining the high-level UN vote foul-up, Mr. Brzezinski said he did not expect such a situation to recur but that hereafter, time permitting, decisions would be written out on paper with fewer "understandings" on the telephone.
Mr. Brzezinski said support of Israel is as strong as ever, based on the Camp David formula, but the United States has opposed extension of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Asked to comment on the Israeli expropriation of 1,000 acres east of Jerusalem in order to close a circle of Jewish suburbs around the city, Mr. Brzezinski answered obliquely. Jerusalem, he said, should never again be divided. But he expressed "considerable sympathy ," with Jerusalem Mayor Kollek, who declared the move might exacerbate tensions and damage Israel's image abroad.
Some see the Israeli move as a retort to the UN Assembly condemnation resolution.
Mr. Brzezinski denied a news story saying that embargoed Iranian oil is still coming into the US. The incoming oil, he said, was cleared before the Nov. 5 order.
He also denied interpretations that Pakistan's refusal of a US offer of $400 million in military aid was a "rebuff." Pakistan would like to differentiate between military and economic aid, he said, and would welcome the latter. "That suits us just fine," he declared. But economic aid is complicated by the current budget review and by possible congressional delay.
Speaking in measured, formal tones, the National Security Adviser repeatedly urged Western solidarity in the Afghan crisis, which he said is "not an American problem alone." He expressed US willingness to achieve an understanding with Moscow, which he hoped might still become "a partner with us in many of the world's problems."
Other points made by Mr. Brzezinski:
* There is cumulative evidence the Soviet Union has used toxic gas in Afghanistan.
* Some left-wing "radicals" holding hostages in Iran follow an ideology that most Iranians would "find abhorrent."
* The United States is prepared to accept Afghanistan as a nonaligned buffer state.
* There is "growing support" for the Olympics boycott.