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Moscow Shake-up Could Ease Tension in Middle East, Israel Minister Says

The shake-up in the Kremlin might mean that better relations in the Middle East were possible, Mrs. Golda Meir, Israel’s Foreign Minister, said at a press conference here today prior to her departure from Vienna where she attended the International Socialist Congress.

Mrs. Meir noted that Dmitri Shepilov, who was among the Soviet leaders just ousted from leadership, was the person who, as Soviet Foreign Minister, arranged the sale of Soviet arms to Egypt. She pointed out that the situation in the Middle East could be stabilized and an Arab-Israel peace achieved, if the Soviet Government were to send food and agricultural implements to the Arab countries instead of arms.

(In Washington, a State Department spokesman said that the Soviet Government could prove the peaceful intent of its shake-up by taking such “practical steps” as easing the Middle East tensions. In Israel, observers indicated that no major changes in the Soviet Middle East policy are likely in the near future as a result of the Moscow shake-up. However, official Israel refrained from comment on the Moscow developments.)

Mrs. Meir, who was received by Austrian President Adolf Schaerf during her stay in Vienna, made it clear at the press conference that Israel is ready at any time and any place to discuss any problems the Arabs want to take up. She said that while territorial concessions were out of the question, Israel was prepared to discuss mutual rectification of boundaries with Jordan. With regard to the problem of the Arab refugees, she pointed out that this problem can best be solved by settling the refugees in Arab lands where there is a need in manpower, especially in Iraq.

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