JERUSALEM (May. 14)
The United Nations peace envoy to the Middle East, Ambassador Gunnar Jarring, is trying to arrange a conference of Israeli and Jordanian representatives at United Nations headquarters in New York, according to authoritative sources here. Dr. Jarring left the Middle East last week for what was officially described as a private visit to Sweden to be followed by consultations at the U.N. It was learned, however, that the U.N. emissary’s shift to New York was brought about by Jordanian objections to his invitation of March 10 to both sides to meet on Cyprus.
Egypt flatly turned down the Cyprus invitation. Jordan hedged for more time and then proposed that Dr. Jarring announce that he would “meet the representatives of Israel, Egypt and Jordan for conferences in New York.” The wording was deliberately left unclear and it is not known whether Jordan would agree to a conference with Dr. Jarring with Israel present. The Egyptians are prepared to come to a conference with Dr. Jarring only, and, according to a statement by the Egyptian Foreign Minister, they will ask him to establish a time-table for the implementation of the Security Council’s Nov. 22, 1967 resolution, the sources said. If the Egyptians have their way, the first item would be the withdrawal of Israeli forces back to the armistice Hues of June 4, 1967.
ISRAEL WILL DISCUSS SUBSTANTIVE MATTERS ONLY ON FACE-TO-FACE MEETINGS
According to sources here, Jarring seems to hope that the lack of a clear formulation might leave the Jordanians free to interpret the invitation differently than the Egyptians. He seems to hope that he can hold a conference of Israeli and Jordanian representatives under his auspices in New York, such as he had originally planned to hold on Cyprus. Israel has made it clear that whenever a Jordanian representative is ready to meet an Israeli, with or without Dr. Jarring’s presence, Israel would be present. It was learned that at his latest meeting with the U.N. envoy. Foreign Minister Abba Eban said the Jarring formula would be acceptable to Israel if he proposed a “conference” instead of “conferences” with the representatives of the three nations. There was never any question of Israeli representatives’ willingness to meet Dr. Jarring in New York or anywhere else. But as long as no Arab representatives are present, no matters of substance can be discussed, sources said.
Israeli sources said that the Soviet stand on the Middle East conflict was reflected in the recent statement by the Egyptian Foreign Minister that Egypt would not talk to Israel, directly or indirectly but would present its demands to Dr. Jarring only. The latter, however, has reportedly refused to discuss such substantive matters as frontiers up to now. His interpretation of the Security Council resolution that established his mission is identical to its interpretation by Israel, sources said. The Israel view is that Dr. Jarring’s task is to promote agreement between the two sides but not to serve as a mediator.
It is believed here that if Dr. Jarring fails to bring about face-to-face meetings between the Arabs and Israelis, he will not terminate his mission. A report to the Security Council would be a step toward termination that Dr. Jarring is expected to avoid. He is believed to regard his present mandate under the Nov, 22, 1967 resolution adequate and will continue with his efforts to get both sides together. It was noted here that the international climate at the moment is favorable to negotiated settlements of conflicts because of the U.S.-North Vietnamese talks that opened in Paris Monday.