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Johnson and Kosygin Conclude Their ‘summit’ Meeting; Middle East Issue Looms High

President Johnson and Soviet Premier Aleksei Kosygin today concluded here their summit talks on the Middle East and other issues, agreeing — according to U.S. officials — with the fact that “Israel does exist” but still holding divergent views on the possible solutions to the Arab-Israel problem. Further talks on the Arab-Israel Issue will be continued between Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko.

It was understood that President Johnson proposed to Premier Kosygin a limitation on shipments of arms to the Middle East countries, direct negotiations between Israel and the Arab countries, justice for Arab refugees, respect for maritime rights through international waterways, and better border arrangements. Premier Kosygin, it was indicated, strongly argued for the immediate withdrawal of Israel from occupied territories in the neighboring Arab countries.

Mr. Kosygin was scheduled to hold a press conference tonight at United Nations headquarters, ready to answer submitted questions on his meeting with President Johnson on the Arab-Israel issue as well as on other issues. President Johnson will seek an early opportunity to comment publicly on the meeting. Secretary Rusk reportedly believes that “serious problems” remained In the Middle East but some consensus of opinion might yet be reached between Moscow and Washington on at least some policy objectives in that region.

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