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Wiggins Sees Jarring Continuing Mission, Says Progress Made at UN Headquarters

The United States today refused to write “finis” to the Middle East peace-seeking mission of Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring despite the absence of three principals at United Nations headquarters. Meeting the press today following the departure of the Foreign Ministers of Israel, Egypt and Jordan, James R. Wiggins, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, said the most “cheerful” aspect of the situation was the refusal of the parties, their “friends” and Dr. Jarring himself to “close the door” on the mission.

There was an indication from another UN source that Dr. Jarring, who has been trying to settle the deadlock for about a year, might himself attempt to stimulate responses to questions raised and left unanswered in Arab-Israel memorandum-exchanges here in recent days.

Mr. Wiggins conceded that Dr. Jarring did not get as far in bringing the sides together as he had hoped, but said that “success is the absence of failure” in Middle East talks. He said that when Dr. Jarring came to the UN from his Nicosia, Cyprus, headquarters to continue contacts during the current General Assembly session, he was discouraged and almost in “despair” about chances of progress. However, the current phase of operations resulted in written exchanges and statements of views, and as the exchanges continued their “tone improved” and some substantive matters were raised, Mr. Wiggins said. Now Dr. Jarring has a “better focus” on his efforts, he said.

Despite the fact that the latest extension of Dr. Jarring’s mandate ends Dec. 1 and that he wants to return to his Swedish ambassadorial post in Moscow, he will probably stay with his UN responsibility “if he feels there is an opportunity to do something,” Mr. Wiggins said. The U.S. wants him to continue, seeing “no better alternative.” A lot “would be lost” if Dr. Jarring quit and his personal experience deriving from “hundreds of contacts” with both sides were thereby set aside, Mr. Wiggins said.

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