UNITED NATIONS — A ranking PLO official on Friday called for an end to the Iran-Iraq war, saying it has added to the turmoil in the Middle East and is diverting world attention from Palestinian aspirations for statehood.
"It is time this war came to an end," the official, Farouk Kaddoumi, told the U.N. General Assembly during the opening of the 12th annual debate on "The Question of Palestine."
"We recognize the imbalance created by the Iran-Iraq war in the region and on the international scene," said Kaddoumi, the foreign policy chief of the Palestine Liberation Organization and a key aide to PLO chief Yasser Arafat.
He said the war has added "confusion to international efforts to find a just solution to the central issue in the region, namely, the question of Palestine."
Kaddoumi said the 6-year-old war also wasted abilities, threatened to spill over to other nations on the Persian Gulf and burdened future generations.
He urged Iran to heed international appeals for a negotiated settlement with "brotherly Iraq." Iran is a non-Arab country.
Israel has long contended that the Iran-Iraq war and the civil war in Lebanon show that the Arab-Israeli conflict is not necessarily at the core of turmoil in the region.
The PLO and its supporters tend to blame most of the area's problems on Israel.
As in the past, the 159-member General Assembly is expected to adopt next week a package of pro-PLO resolutions backing Palestinian statehood and calling on the U.N. Security Council to set the stage for an international Middle East conference.
The participants in the proposed U.N.-sponsored conference would include Israel, its Arab foes including the PLO, as well as the five permanent members of the Security Council--the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, France and China.