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Americans, Russian Meet in Washington to Discuss Mideast Settlement

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The State Department summoned Soviet Ambassador Anatoly F. Dobrynin for a talk today that lasted more than an hour and constituted an “exploratory” sounding of a possible deal leading to an Arab-Israel settlement.

State Department spokesman Robert McCloskey later told a press briefing that the conference indicated “continuing hope” that the framework for a settlement could be worked out at the United Nations. But he said he could not state if new hope for an agreement had prompted the meeting of Mr. Dobrynin with Joseph Sisco, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizational Affairs, and Arthur J. Goldberg, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.

Department sources later said the meeting was held in hopes of finding new thrust to revitalize lagging efforts at the U.N. to resolve the situation resulting from the Six-Day War. Officials said they were aware of reports that Egypt and perhaps other Arab states might be willing to make statements of non-belligerency in return for Israeli withdrawal of troops. Mr. McCloskey said, however, that “all the U.S. discussions of Middle East matters are conducted within the framework of the President’s speech of June 19.”

In a dispatch from the United Nations, the Washington Post asserted today that Jerusalem had become a “peace hurdle,” that the “Israeli stand may prove difficult for the United States” and that pressures on Israel might be in the offing.

Robert H. Estabrook, the Post’s U.N. correspondent, reported that “it is an unstated assumption on the part of many Western delegations that if the time does come when some sort of withdrawal and non-belligerency agreement appear possible, the United States may have to use some heavy persuasion on Israel to reconsider the status of Jerusalem.” He said that Israel’s insistence on retaining Arab Jerusalem may prove to be the most difficult aspect for the United States in any Middle East peace formula that may emerge here.”

The Washington Evening Star said today in a dispatch from William Frye, its U.N. correspondent, that U.N. diplomats reported that Israel and Egypt have been in direct contact over possible reopening of the Suez Canal. The contacts were said to have been made within the last week, and to have reflected a new feeling of concern in Cairo over the waterway remaining closed.

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