Schumann Reports U.s., Soviet Mideast Stands Have Drawn Close to French Position

Foreign Minister Maurice Schumann reported to the Cabinet today that both the United States and Soviet stands on the Middle East have drawn closer to the French position. “America has drawn closer to our stand that Israel must withdraw its forces from the occupied territories, while Russia has also drawn closer by accepting that Israel’s existence behind safe and recognized borders must be guaranteed,” M. Schumann said. Both points have been stressed on a number of occasions by President Georges Pompidou and other French officials. The Foreign Minister made essentially the same remarks at a press luncheon here yesterday when he said the American and Soviet shifts represented “the beginning of a new hope” for a peaceful settlement in the Mideast. When asked whether the shift would be followed by a change in France’s arms embargo against Israel, M. Schumann replied, “On the contrary, this change only goes to vindicate our stand. A change in the embargo policy is less likely now than ever before.” At today’s Cabinet meeting, the Foreign Minister reiterated that “only through Big Power consultation and agreement can a solution to the Mideast crisis be found.” Other French officials are claiming credit for what they see as an American-Russian rapprochement on the Mideast. They say it is a “triumph” of French diplomacy that brought the superpowers together, due to “France’s efforts and independent policy on this subject.”

The Soviet Ambassador to Egypt, Sergei Vinogradov, arrived here today for top-level talks on the Mideast with M. Schumann and other senior foreign ministry officials. Sources here said he might also meet with Premier Jacques Chaban-Delmas. Mr. Vinogradov was formerly Moscow’s Ambassador to France. The government announced the appointment of a new French Consul General in Jerusalem today. He is Paul Antoine Henry who replaces Christian Fouache d’Halloy. M. Henry served as diplomatic advisor to former President Charles DeGaulle and served as Consul in Bonn and Rome. A Joint communique issued yesterday by Pres. Pompidou and visiting Rumanian President Nicolau Ceausesou stated that both countries are in agreement on the way to achieve peace in the Middle East and share a common anxiety over the growing tensions and increased hostility in that region. The section of the communique dealing with the Mideast stated that application of the United Nations Security Council’s Nov. 22, 1967 resolution was the essential condition for a Mideast settlement. “Both countries consider that peace in the Mideast must be based on the withdrawal of Israeli troops from all occupied Arab territory, the recognition of the right to existence, independence and territorial integrity of all states in the region and the settlement of the Palestine refugee problem in conformity with the legitimate interests of the refugees,” the communique stated.

NEXT STORY