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Israel Warns Rogers’ Statement May Impair Mideast Peace Prospects

Israel charged yesterday that Secretary of State William P. Rogers’ statement of United States Mideast policy was likely to mar prospects for peace in the region because it imposed prior conditions on a settlement. The charge was contained in a statement issued by the government following a late meeting of the Cabinet. It was issued shortly before Foreign Minister Abba Eban departed for the U.S. for talks with Mr. Rogers and possibly with President Nixon.

The Israeli statement said, “The prospects for peace will be seriously marred if states outside the region continue to raise territorial proposals and suggestions on subjects that cannot promise peace and security.” It said that “negotiations for peace must be free from prior conditions and external influences and pressures.” The Israel Government further maintained that the Middle East tensions referred to by the secretary of State “derive from the aggressive policies of the Arab governments.”

It denied that the situation resulting from the June, 1967 war can be considered “expansionism or conquest” and insisted that the Arab governments’ refusal to make peace with Israel is the cause of the current trouble in the region. The Government reiterated Israel’s contention that the only way to end the Middle East conflict was by a “directly negotiated peace treaty.”

In a statement at the airport prior to his departure, Mr. Eban said that Israel stands firm in its position that “no country outside this region can set forth the peace conditions” and that no agreement between the powers can replace an arrangement between the parties concerned.

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