UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Jan. 26)
Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring, after an interim sojourn in Moscow in his old post as Sweden’s Ambassador, returns here Tuesday for a new round of Middle East peace talks. His mission, authorized by the Nov. 22, 1967 Security Council Mideast resolution, is being renewed amid signs of at least hairline fissures in the ice jam blocking a settlement of Arab-Israel differences.
The special envoy of Secretary-General U Thant will confer Tuesday with Mr. Thant and later with representatives of the Big Four–the United States, Russia, Britain and France–and the parties to the Mideast deadlock. As he prepared to again pursue a solution, there were indications that the Big Four would meet under Security Council auspices next month to determine future steps toward peace.
The State Department was studying this weekend a French proposal to hold Big Four talks. The Soviet Union last week agreed to the Paris suggestion but was known to favor Kremlin-Washington talks aimed at a settlement which would, if agreement were reached, be discussed with Paris and London. If general agreement were reached, they would be presented to the UN Council for approval.
Meanwhile, the Soviet public this weekend learned for the first time the contents of the Kremlin’s Dec. 30 peace program circulated in Western capitals. The blueprint, which has been rejected by Israel, appeared in the Communist Party newspaper Pravda.
The plan provides for a two-stage withdrawal of Israeli troops from territories occupied during the Six-Day War, and would take effect over a two-month period. After Israeli withdrawals began, the Arab states and Israel, under the plan, would issue declarations ending the state of war, proclaiming respect for one another’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence. Afterward–though Pravda did not specify when–agreement would be reached on “secure and recognized frontiers,” freedom of navigation through international waterways and a settlement of the Arab refugee problem. Pravda indicated that Israel would have to return to the pre-1967 war boundaries, but proposed demilitarized zones and that United Nations troops be based again in the Gaza Strip, at Sharm el-Sheikh and on the Strait of Tiran. The plan did not call for withdrawal from Old Jerusalem, which was not mentioned. It would provide for freedom of navigation through the Tiran Strait and Gulf of Aqaba but did not mention Israeli passage through the Suez Canal, which the Soviet Union wants re-opened. Essentially, Pravda said the plan should be regarded as a “package,” to be mediated through Dr. Jarring.
Israel has rejected the proposal on grounds that it fails to meet its demand for direct negotiations and formal peace treaties and that the Soviet conditions would reconstruct the pre-war conditions and lay the groundwork for a new conflict. The British Government told France that it is sympathetic to a Big Four meeting but only within a UN context and as a contribution to Dr. Jarring’s efforts.