The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly Thursday for the convening of an international Middle East peace conference and for temporarily placing the Israeli-occupied territories under U.N. supervision.
The United States and Israel voted against the action. The final tally was 138-2, with two abstentions, Canada and Costa Rica. Iran did not participate in the vote, and Libya and Syria voted yes with reservations, saying they did not recognize Israel, which was mentioned in the resolution.The vote on the resolution came after the new U.S. willingness to talk to the PLO drew a widely positive response.
The vote closed out a three-day debate on Palestine, which was held in Geneva after the United States refused to grant PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat a visa to speak at the United Nations in New York.
The main resolution passed by the General Assembly calls for the convening of an international conference under U.N. auspices "with the participation of all parties to the conflict, including the Palestine Liberation Organization, on an equal footing. . . ."
It requests the U.N. Security Council to establish a preparatory committee for convening the conference.
The resolution "affirms" principles for achieving comprehensive peace, including "the withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories."
The resolution also "notes the expressed desire and endeavors to place the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, under the supervision of the United Nations for a limited period, as part of the peace process."