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Israelis See United States a Reluctant Partner in Today’s Big Four Talks

Diplomatic circles here believe that the United States was quite unwilling to resume the Four Power talks on the Middle East which begin anew in New York tomorrow but was unable to find a way out of them. According to these circles, Washington could not very well refuse to resume the consultations with the USSR, Britain and France because its bilateral discussions with the Soviet Union on the Middle East appear hopelessly deadlocked.

Israeli diplomats are most apprehensive over the role that France will play in the renewed Big Four deliberations. They note that Paris has made it quite clear that in matters of foreign policy, the Pompidou regime follows the lines laid down by former President Charles De Gaulle. Israelis fear that France may renew its proposal for a timetable to implement the Security Council’s Nov. 22, 1967 Mideast resolution. Israel rejects the timetable concept and insist that the resolution is not self-implementing.

According to the Israelis, the resolution merely lays down the principles upon which agreement between the two sides should be reached. In the Israeli view, agreement is the key word. But France’s stand has been closer to that of the Soviet Union which has agreed to a “package deal” but insists that Israel withdraw to the 1949 armistice lines before the deal becomes effective. The United States has rejected the Soviet stand. Israelis hope it will continue to stand firm against pressure that might be brought to bear by the three other powers.

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