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U.S. Officials Silent on Reports New Proposals Move Toward Arab Position

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Reports that the United States was moving toward the Arab position in the Mideast deadlock were circulating here today but the official spokesman of the U.S. Mission would neither confirm nor deny them.

The New York Times reported today that the Nixon Administration was awaiting a definitive Soviet statement concurring with basic guidelines for a settlement that have “emerged in a long series of confidential talks between Joseph J. Sisco, the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, and Anatoly F. Dobrynin, the Soviet Ambassador to the U.S.

The Times also reported that both super-powers were nearing an agreement on principles for a peace settlement to be negotiated between Israel and the Arabs. One U.S. official was quoted as saying that the coming week “will be a watershed–one way or the other” in the peacemaking efforts.

According to reports here, if Soviet concurrence is forthcoming, the new guidelines would be placed before the Big Four Ambassadors in secret talks that are expected to resume here in Mid-November. John M. Stuart, the official, U.S. Mission spokesman, said he would neither confirm nor deny the reports and that reports that the Washington consultations had reached a “watershed” level were “largely speculative.”

Formal official statements issued at the UN and in Washington said: “For the past several weeks, we have been trying to develop common formulations for a joint document which will provide a basis for Ambassador Gunnar V. Jarring’s (the UN Mideast envoy) renewal of contacts with the parties. That process has moved ahead and is continuing. In the course of the process, there have been some new formulations which are now being discussed.”

GUIDELINES CALL FOR ARAB COMMITMENT TO CONCLUDE BINDING AND LASTING PEACE

The Times reported that the guidelines were understood to include the following:

Israel and the Arab states would determine a detailed settlement by themselves, negotiating under a formula like one that brought the sides together in 1949 armistice talks on the island of Rhodes;

The Arabs would formally state their intention to conclude a “binding and lasting peace” to replace the armistice. Israel would agree to a detailed timetable for withdrawal of her forces from occupied territories to new frontiers that the parties in the area would agree upon.

An internationally constituted military force would be set up in the area as a buffer along the negotiated frontiers, with its presence to be controlled and guaranteed by the major powers.

The State Department maintains that the content of the Sisco-Dobrynin discussions has not been “leaked” and that “premature leakage” might cause the Arabs and Israelis to reject any peace formulas before they are presented to the Big Four.

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