Shertok Reports to State Council on Israeli Talks with Egypt, Lebanon and Transjordan

A report on the Israeli-Egyptian armistice negotiations now taking place at Rhodes was made today by Foreign Minister Moshe Shertok to a meeting of the State Council. The negotiations, he said, have reached a stage where certain points have been agreed upon by both sides, while others are still outstanding.

The Israeli Foreign Minister informed the members of the Council that acting U.N. mediator Dr. Ralph Bunche requested Israel not to make public any of the points on which agreement has already been reached. He emphasized that Israel welcomes the change in policy of the Egyptian Government which led to Egyptian participation in the Rhodes negotiations and in direct talks with Israeli representatives.

“It is still too early to assume that the Egyptian armistice negotiations will mean final peace after they conclude,” Shertok warned. He said that the agreement reached on certain points between the Israeli and Egyptian delegations is valueless until all points under discussion are settled and approved.

Shertok also revealed that negotiations have been started with Lebanon. They have not as yet reached any practical stage of armistice talks, he said. He also announced that the contact between Israel and Trans Jordan continues without any interruption. However, this contact cannot yet be considered as armistice negotiations, he added.

“Transjordan,” the Israeli Foreign Minister said, “had no reason during this contact to invoke its treaty with Britain and to call British troops to Aqaba. Such a request to Britain does not tally with the facts of the situation. We see in the landing of British troops in Aqaba an action threatening Israeli territory. We are on guard and are maintaining contact with the members of the Security Council with regard to this matter.”

Commenting on the British decision to release the Jewish refugees on Cyprus and to permit their emigration from the Island to Israel, Shertok stated: “This decision terminated the epoch of tragedy and misery for the Jews on Cyprus. However, we still do not know whether this constitutes a change in British policy, or the concession on the part of the British Government to the opposition in order to prevent further action on the part of the leaders of the opposition.”

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