UNITED Nations General Assembly President Guido de Marco urged Israel yesterday to accept an international peace conference on the Middle East, saying it was in the Jewish state's own interests. ``I do insist and hope that Israel will realize that what we are saying is not anti-Israel... but also pro-Israel,'' he said at a news conference in Amman before leaving for Cairo.
Mr. de Marco, on a tour to underline the plight of Palestinians under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, said Israel could not go on forever occupying the land and rejecting the idea of an international conference.
De Marco added, however, that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had no right to demand linkage between the Arab-Israeli conflict and his invasion of Kuwait.
Iraq says Gulf war will affect world
Iraq's Defense Ministry newspaper, discussing war as if it was inevitable, said yesterday the conflict would have repercussions for the whole world.
An editorial in al-Qadisiyah said the aim was to liberate Arabs from the injustice of repressive, treacherous, and corrupt regimes.
``The aims of Iraq in this historic confrontation are now clear and well-known, namely defending the unity of Iraq ... through the return of Kuwait to its motherland and remaining forever Iraq's 19th province,'' it said.
``Other aims are to liberate usurped Arab territory, in the forefront the land and people of Palestine and the Golan, and free Arab wealth from corrupt rulers and foreign domination.''
Echoing a speech by Saddam Sunday to mark Army Day, the paper said: ``The aims of the mother of all battles will not be confined to national and pan-Arab limits but its traces and consequences will extend to all humanity.''
It said the president had ``frankly, clearly and unambiguously declared: `We will fight in the mother of all battles and will win, and will accept nothing short of victory.'''
Hundreds jam flights out of Israel
People packed flights out of Israel, and Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and members of his Cabinet voiced pessimism over the prospects of averting war in the Gulf.
``All flights leaving Israel today were absolutely full,'' an airport source said Sunday. ``Most leaving were foreigners, but there were quite a few Israeli families with children. They said they were going on holiday - not a usual thing in the middle of the school year.''
Mr. Shamir told Israeli Radio: ``The logic of facts says that there is no way to avoid this [war] ... The whole matter is so surprising and unbelievable that I would advise ourselves to be prepared for anything.''
Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy said Saddam's address Sunday was ``in effect a declaration of war,'' and seemed to doubt that a meeting between US Secretary of State James Baker III and Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz in Geneva tomorrow would ensure peace.
Rival gunmen clash in Beirut, breach peace plan
Gunmen of rival militias clashed in Beirut Sunday, breaching a peace plan enforced by Lebanon's Syrian-backed government, security sources said yesterday.
Members of the pro-Damascus Syrian Nationalist Social Party traded machine gunfire with militiamen of the Christian Lebanese Forces militia for 15 minutes in the Dbayeh district of the capital, the sources said although no casualties were reported.