New Proposals Aim at Closing British-soviet Gap on Arab-israeli Settlement

New British proposals aimed at bridging the between the Soviet and British positions on the conditions of an Arab-Israeli settlement were reported today to be in preparation following a four-hour meeting Tuesday of the United Nations representatives of the Four Powers. Meanwhile, the envoy’s deputies were to meet again this week to try once again to put into written form a statement of the areas of agreement, areas of potential agreement and areas of complete disagreement after some 25 Four Power meetings. A session of the deputies last week failed to produce the statement.

The Washington Post reported that prior to Tuesday’s meeting, “the United States was authoritatively said to be intending to make clear to the Soviet Union that no further concessions can be expected and that the next move on a settlement is up to Moscow.” The paper reported that the British did not regard the Soviet reply of Dec. 23, rejecting the American proposals for an Israeli-Egyptian settlement “as representing Moscow’s entire position.” Consequently, it said the British believed that there were areas for compromise and were making proposals to that effect.

Ambassador Armand Berard of France told Tuesday’s meeting that agreement had been reached on several key points. He listed several in his talk with the envoys but sources said later that the “agreement” attained on many of the issues he cited was, at the least, highly debatable.

BERARD’S INITIATIVE SEEN AS MOVE TO SQUASH OPPOSITION AT HOME

Ambassador Berard’s initiative in offering his “balance-sheet” was ascribed by the New York Times to the intention “to help the French Government squash opposition at home and abroad to its decision to supply Libya with Mirage fighter planes.” The $400 million arms deal which France has just negotiated with Libya has aroused considerable criticism in France and expression of fears in Israel and elsewhere that a good part of the equipment which Libya will receive from France will ultimately find its way into Egyptian hands.

The presentation of the “balance sheet,” the New York Times said, was regarded by experts as “a bit of diplomatic forcing designed to move the talks off dead center by stressing the positive aspects.” The paper noted that “the French in effect are asking the other three powers to confirm that the talks have been positive.”

In an editorial today, the Times said Soviet Russia’s blunt rejection of the latest U.S. proposals for a Mideast settlement “seems designed to appease the most intransigent Arabs, as though dictated in Cairo.” Nevertheless, the Times believes the Soviets have kept the door open to further

talks and acknowledge that “urgent steps” are needed to establish peace in the area. “Such steps will not be possible until the Soviet Union musters the courage to confront its Arab clients with clear call for reasonable and necessary concessions comparable to those the United States has honorably proposed to its friends in Israel,” the Times said.

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