UNITED NATIONS -- The Security Council today postponed again a vote on a draft resolution that mentions an international Middle East peace conference, as the United States and nonaligned countries tried to reach agreement on wording critical of Israel.
The president of the council, Abdalla Saleh Ashtal, said the meeting would be held Monday.
Diplomats say the United States is opposed to any mention of a peace conference in the resolution. It has proposed that the conference be included in a statement to be read by the president of the council, a move that is opposed by the nonaligned nations because it is widely viewed as carrying less legal weight than an actual resolution.
The postponement came as the Soviet Union announced to the council that it intended to pursue meetings of a political nature with those involved in the dispute. This was viewed as a reference to the upcoming meeting between Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze.
That meeting, which is expected to be held Friday in Ankara, Turkey, is likely to touch on the issue of an international peace conference, the Persian Gulf and the Palestinian question, diplomats said.
There was speculation that the Soviets would try to persuade Arafat not to force a U.S. veto of the nonaligned draft resolution, which "considers that convening at an appropriate time a properly structured international peace conference, with the participation of the parties concerned, would facilitate the achievement of a negotiated settlement and lasting peace in the Middle East."