JERUSALEM (Oct. 13)
The Foreign Ministry disclosed yesterday that United Nations special Mideast peace envoy, Ambassador Gunnar V. Jarring, has made three attempts since 1968 to bring the foreign ministers of Israel, Egypt, and Jordan together to lay the groundwork for negotiations only to be rejected each time by Egypt.
The first attempt was made last year. The most recent was last month when Dr. Jarring invited Egyptian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad to fly to New York in November simultaneously with Foreign Minister Abba Ebon of Israel and Foreign Minister Abdel Monem Rifai of Jordan. Dr. Jarring was turned down by Mr. Riad and therefore no invitation was extended to Mr. Eban.
The disclosure by Foreign Ministry spokesman David Rivlin confirmed a report published yesterday in the semi-official Cairo newspaper AI Ahram, which is known to speak directly for President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Al Ahram published details of a report prepared by Mr. Riad on his recent consultations at the UN. It was intended to “clarify” the statement by Mr. Riad last month that Egypt would participate in indirect peace talks with Israel along the lines of the 1949 Rhodes armistice talks provided that they were not construed as direct talks. That remark and a direct statement to the same effect by Egypt’s official Government spokesman, Dr. Esmet Abdel-Meguid, in Cairo last week were sharply contradicted by Al Ahram. The newspaper said that Mr. Riad had rejected the suggestion for a gathering in New York and had made it clear to Dr. Jarring that he would not accept any invitation to visit some other site for indirect talks with Israel.
RIVLIN SAYS JARRING PROPOSED NICOSIA, GENEVA AND NEW YORK AS TALK SITES
Mr. Rivlin told newsmen that Dr. Jarring had proposed once in 1968 and twice this year that the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan and Israel come to a site where he could confer with them simultaneously in order to facilitate his peace mission. The first locale proposed was Nicosia, Cyprus, where Dr. Jarring maintained headquarters during more than a year of shuttling between Jerusalem and the Arab capitals. Foreign Minister Eban went there, Mr. Rivlin disclosed; the second proposal suggested Dr. Jarring’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and the third site was New York. In each case Mr. Eban stated that he would go anywhere if conditions for peace negotiations existed but in all three cases Dr. Jarring was turned down by the Arab foreign ministers, Mr. Rivlin said.
He confirmed that Mr. Eban told the UN representatives last month that Israel was ready to send a delegation to Rhodes and asked him to pass that information to the Egyptian foreign minister. Observers here believe that this suggestion was the basis for Dr. Jarring’s invitation to Mr. Riad to come to New York next month.
According to AI Ahram, Mr. Riad told Dr. Jarring that attempts to revive the Rhodes talks formula “undermine the main objective of your mission in the Middle East.., which is to implement the (Security Council’s Nov. 22. 1967) resolution.” Mr. Riad reportedly stated that Egypt accepted the Jarring mission on that basis and added, “at a time when we welcome a continuation of your contacts, we refuse to discuss the details relating to procedure, which do not concern the heart of the matter,” Al Ahram said.
Israeli circles regard Al Ahram’s contradiction of the reported willingness by Egypt to engage in Rhodes-type talks to reflect Egypt’s true position and to be Egypt’s final and authoritative word on the subject. A leader of the Arab Socialist Union. Egypt’s only political party, said in Cairo yesterday that Egypt’ stands firmly by the position taken at the Arab summit conference in Khartoum in August, 1967–no recognition, no negotiations and no peace with Israel.