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Israelis Discount Reports of British Pressure on Rusk for Middle East ‘timetable’

The Foreign Ministry today discounted press reports that Britain’s Foreign Secretary Michael Stewart was trying to influence United States Secretary of State Dean Rusk to agree to a “timetable” for implementation of the Security Council’s Nov. 22, 1967 resolution on the Middle East. Mr. Stewart and Mr. Rusk are attending a conference of the NATO ministers council in Reykjavik, Iceland.

The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail reported in London yesterday that both Stewart and Rusk were concerned over the lack of progress in Middle East peace efforts and were preparing to pressure both sides toward a compromise. The Telegraph said that Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko had hinted to Mr. Stewart in Moscow two months ago that he would be ready to join Britain and the U.S. in Middle East peace efforts. The Soviets insist that the Nov. 22 resolution calls for an immediate Israeli withdrawal from occupied Arab territories.

Concerning Stewart’s talks in Moscow, Israeli Foreign Ministry sources said today that the British Foreign Office had advised the Israel Embassy in London that there was agreement with the Soviet Union “only on the aim of peace.”

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