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Eban Says First Stage of Negotiations Will Not Be Easy but ‘serious and Tricky’

Foreign Minister Abba Eban disclosed last night that the first stage of negotiations with the Arabs, following the establishment of a 90-day cease-fire Friday, would be on the foreign ministerial level. “This stage will not be an easy one, not a smooth one, but serious and tricky,” Mr. Eban said in a nationwide television address. He said the first step would be a meeting of the foreign ministers of all the concerned parties with Ambassador Gunnar V. Jarring, the special United Nations envoy for the Middle East. Mr. Eban said Dr. Jarring would come to the region to renew old contacts and discuss the possibility of direct negotiations between the two sides in the Middle East conflict. The Swedish diplomat suspended his mission over a year ago after months of fruitless shuttling between Israeli and Arab capitals. Mr. Eban made it plain that Israel wants the talks to take place in the Middle East at some neutral spot. The Israeli Foreign Minister said Dr. Jarring would have to spend considerable time in the region even though all of the foreign ministers will be in New York during the September-November period to attend the UN General Assembly sessions. “If Dr. Jarring wants to establish real and serious contacts with the governments in the area he had best pay a visit to or establish a base near the Middle East,” Mr. Eban said. During his previous attempts at peace-making Dr. Jarring operated from Nicosia, Cyprus. Mr. Eban indicated that Israel and the Arab states differ sharply over the venue of negotiations. Israel prefers Cyprus or some other nearby location because even if the talks do not involve direct face-to-face meetings they would inevitably have the character of negotiations. The Arabs would like to have the talks held in New York where the presence of Israeli and Arab diplomats in the same building is nothing out of the ordinary and would not imply an Arab deviation from their principle of no contact with the Israelis.

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