LONDON (Sep. 23)
The Arab nations may soon do a “diplomatic somersault” and agree to enter into direct negotiations with Israel, the Sunday Observer reported today from Paris. The impending Arab switch in policy, it states, stems from the reported agreement in Ottawa by the North Atlantic Treaty Council last week to extend NATO into the Middle East. The Arab leaders, according to the dispatch, may realize that they have much more to gain by participating in the western defense build-up, if given the chance, than by allowing it to go forward, bringing in Turkey and Israel and excluding the Arab states from the benefits of U.S. protection and arms aid.
It is this reason that major significance has been attached to the announcement from Cairo by Azzam Pasha, secretary general of the Arab League, that the League’s political committee will meet on September 29 to discuss the Ottawa developments. As the Arab leaders see it, according to the dispatch, the problem is when and whether they can afford to agree to direct talks with Israel without loss of face.