JERUSALEM (Jul. 9)
Foreign Minister Abba Eban said yesterday that there is nothing left for the Big Powers to do in the Middle East but use their influence on both sides to start direct peace negotiations. He said the Four Power talks in New York which have recessed indefinitely, proved fruitless and should be abandoned altogether. Mr. Eban spoke to Knesset members of the Labor Party Mapam alignment.
He saw little of value emerging from the U.S.-Soviet Mideast discussions which are shifting temporarily from Washington to Moscow. He said the change of venue was a matter of prestige for the Russians and did not change Israel’s negative attitude toward the talks. According to Mr. Eban. the Russians not only reject Israel’s diplomatic position but have turned down the U.S. proposals for a Middle East settlement which differ from Israel’s stand in many details. The time has come, Mr. Eban said, to make efforts for direct peace talks between Israel and the Arabs, and Israel hopes that the Big Powers will do so.
The Foreign Minister said that his recent visit to three East African nations helped consolidate Israel’s friendship with those states and brought about a mutual recognition that every effort must be made to prevent the Red Sea from becoming an exclusively Arab sea.
Mr. Eban has been invited to visit Holland and Belgium and may go to those countries during the latter part of August, it was disclosed today. Some sources said he may also visit France at the same time. Egypt’s Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad paid an official visit to Holland and Belgium several weeks ago.