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Israel Informs U.N. Conciliation Commission Arab States Are Hindering Peace Talks

The Israel Foreign Ministry announced here today that it has advised the United Nations Palestine Conciliation Commission in Geneva that “it now seems, from the reported reply of the Arab states to the Commission, that the Arabs still insist on their condition they will not enter into direct peace talks with Israel unless the latter first agrees to take back Arab refugees and reestablish them.”

The Israel Foreign Ministry said that “this means the Arab governments are deliberately making it impossible for peace negotiations to begin. Israel, which explicitly accepted the Commission’s original offer, is still ready at any time to enter into direct negotiations with any Arab state or states and declares its willingness to negotiate a final settlement of all outstanding issues.”

Recalling that in its original reply to the Commission’s proposals of March 29, Israel requested the Commission to inform it which Arab state or states are ready to negotiate a final peace settlement, today’s Foreign Ministry statement emphasizes that no such reply has as yet been received.

The Cairo radio, monitored here, stated during the week-end that the Arab states have decided to reject a proposal by the Conciliation Commission that a committee of Arab and Israel representatives be established to discuss a final settlement, unless certain conditions were met. The conditions, Radio Cairo declared, are: acceptance of the repatriation of the Palestine Arab refugees; and, acceptance of the original U.N. partition decision as the basis for discussion.

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