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Eban Says Events Have Vindicated Israel’s Criticism of Big Power Role

Foreign Minister Abba Eban told a news conference today that Israel’s original criticism of the Four Power Mideast talks has been fully vindicated. He urged the Big Powers to have the courage to admit their failure to achieve a settlement.

Referring to the Big Four discussions which resumed in New York yesterday after five months, Mr. Eban said that Israel had warned before they started almost a year ago that they would prove fruitless and only worsen the Mideast situation. He said events have shown that Israel was right when it said that Big Power intervention would only foster the illusion among the Arabs that they would be relieved of making a settlement on their own. He said the talks were based on the “impossible notion” that there could be a settlement without negotiations between the parties concerned.

Israel warned further, Mr. Eban recalled, that the big Powers would probably arrive at proposals that were unacceptable to either side and that their efforts would lift the Middle East conflict out of its local context to an infinitely more dangerous global confrontation.

SEES SIGNS OF IMPROVED FRANCE-ISRAELI RELATIONS

On another matter, Mr. Eban said that Israel has not given up hope of improved relations with France. He said there have been a few encouraging signs in that direction although there has been no relaxation of the arms embargo against Israel and France still leans toward the Arabs in the Big Four talks. Mr. Eban said that among the hopeful signs was the speech to the United Nations General Assembly by French Foreign Minister Maurice Schumann in which he did not accuse Israel of aggression as his predecessor had done under the regime of former President De Gaulle.

Mr. Eban also found encouraging France’s signing of a visa exemption agreement with Israel that Gen. De Gaulle had held in abeyance in 1967, and France’s agreement to open talks on a preferential trade agreement between Israel and the European Common Market countries. On the other hand, Mr. Eban said, French cabinet ministers visit the Arab countries but not Israel.

Mr. Eban said he would visit the three Benelux countries next February and probably several other West European countries.

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