UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Mar. 12)
Dr. Gunnar Jarring, the United Nations Mideast peace envoy, met here today with Yosef Tekoah, the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations. Mr. Tekoah said his meeting with Dr. Jarring was in the nature of “exploratory talks” and to exchange views on the continuation of Jarring’s peace mission. He declined to disclose details of the talks, but indicated that Jarring has not yet decided on a course for future action. Mr. Tekoah observed that it was undoubtedly difficult for Dr. Jarring to proceed with specific steps at this stage because of the “manifold elements in the present situation.”
The Israeli ambassador cited five such elements: Israel’s readiness to cooperate further with Dr. Jarring; violations of cease-fire by Arab states and the policy of a war of attrition pursued by Egypt’s leadership; increased Soviet support for the Arab policy; the fact that the Big Four talks, which had paralyzed Jarring’s mission in the past, are continuing; and signs that the Soviet Union and the Arab states intend to impede his return to the Middle East. As evidence of the intention to impede Dr. Jarring’s resumption of his Middle East peace mission, Mr. Tekoah cited the refusal of the Arab states to conclude peace with Israel, and the Arab-Soviet desire to try to impose upon the Four Power talks a settlement short of real peace. Diplomatic sources said Dr. Jarring also would meet with the Lebanese envoy Eduard Ghora later today, and with Jordanian and Egyptian representatives later today or some time tomorrow. Dr. Jarring began talks with Secretary General U Thant yesterday after his arrival in New York at Mr. Thant’s suggestion.
BRITISH VIEW BIG FOUR MIDEAST TALKS AS THOROUGH RATHER THAN A BREAKTHROUGH
The Big Four met again today – their 30th since last April – to discuss the Middle East situation. The spokesman for the British UN delegation said he could not speculate what decisions, if any would be reached in today’s talks. He offered this comment as the Big Four were still meeting at the Soviet mission. Sources at the UN said that the previous Big Four meeting last week, which had been characterized as encouraging by some observers, was merely viewed by the British as “detailed and thorough.” The reason for the restraint by the British for not characterizing the Big Four talks in any other way was reported by informed sources to be that the British effort is to achieve a real peace and not a paper one. Informed sources at the UN said the British attitude toward the Big Four talks on the Middle East situation was “not to despair” but to be “encouraged to preserve.”
Sources also said there was no confirmation that any “breakthrough” had taken place in the Big Four Mideast talks, nor that any decision had been made for Dr. Jarring to meet with the Big Four powers collectively. He is, however, meeting or is scheduled to meet, with representatives of the Big Four powers here individually. The British spokesman said “we welcome Dr. Jarring’s return to New York” and he indicated that a collective meeting of the Big Four powers and Dr. Jarring could not be ruled out in the future. The Big Four are scheduled to meet again next Thursday.
The UN spokesman was asked by newsmen whether Mr. Thant or the United Nations was in receipt of a demand by the Arab League that sanctions be imposed on Israel because of her reported intention to move Arab refugees out of the Gaza Strip. The UN spokesman said he was not aware of such a request. (Reports in London disclosed late yesterday that Syria has initiated an intensive diplomatic campaign to prevent Israel from ousting some 100,000 Arabs from the Gaza Strip and relocating them on the West Bank of the Jordan River. Israel has been plagued by mounting terrorism in the area.) (Israeli authorities reported this week that there was no move by the government to resettle Gaza Strip residents. Authorities said the only residents who would be relocated to the West Bank are those who make a special request in order to take advantage of better employment opportunities and higher wages afforded there compared to the opportunities in the Gaza Strip.)