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Israel’s decision to build a canal linking the Mediterranean Sea to the Dead Sea (decision 13/8)

At the 13th meeting of the session, on 23 May, the Council had before it a draft decision on this subject submitted by the Group of 77 (UNEP/GC.13.L.14).

The representative of the United States of America asked that a vote be taken on the draft decision. At the request of the representative of Saudi Arabia, the vote was taken by roll call. The draft decision was adopted by 47 votes to 1. *

In favour: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Federal Republic of, Ghana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lesotho, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Yugoslavia.

Against: United States of America.

The representative of the United States of America said that, as well as opposing the decision on which a vote had just been taken, his delegation had also opposed the General Assembly resolutions referred to therein, on the grounds that their conclusions were premature and their formulation unbalanced. While it was strictly neutral on the legal, environmental and economic aspects of the proposed project, it considered that the decision in question prejudged the, matter on political grounds. Had the decision focused on environmental issues alone, expressing reasonable concern over the unknown environmental consequences of the project and urging bilateral consultations between the countries involved, he would have been able to support it.

The representative of Jordan said he regretted that it had not proved possible to adopt the decision by consensus and called upon the Government that had voted against it to face up to its duties as a supper-power concerned with maintaining the peace. It had become the philosophy of Israel to ignore United Nations resolutions, international law and the Geneva Conventions. The international community would have to put an end to such contumacy, including the canal project.