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Thant Reiterates Support for Big Four Consultations, in UN Setting, on Mideast

United Nations Secretary-General U Thant today reiterated his often-voiced support for Big Four consultations within a UN context aimed at a Mideast settlement. He said that the Arabs and Israel should be “involved in some stages” of Big Four (United States, Russia, Britain and France) consultations within the framework of the Security Council’s Nov. 22, 1967 Mideast settlement resolution that established the mission of intermediary Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring. That envoy resumed his mission at the UN today.

Mr. Thant called for Big Power consultations “collectively or individually” within a Council context and did not rule out “some sort of pressure.” He declined to comment on whether a Big Four meeting was likely. French has proposed one, with the Kremlin’s support. Britain has expressed unofficial support. The United States’ National Security Council, President Nixon said yesterday, will consider on Saturday the “entire range of options” on Mideast policy, including Big Four consultations.

The Secretary-General said he agreed with Mr. Nixon’s view of the Mideast as a “powder keg” that might explode bringing a superpower nuclear confrontation. In this context, he opposed an imposed Mideast peace as leading to further problems in coming years. He preferred Big Power “moral pressure” leading to peace. Mr. Nixon has taken the position that Mideast differences should be settled by parties in the region.

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