UNITED NATIONS (Aug. 24)
Talks “for a just and lasting peace” will begin between Israel and the Arabs on Tuesday. United Nations Middle East mediator Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring announced here today. Dr. Jarring’s announcement was made at UN headquarters just 17 days after the United States sponsored cease-fire along the Suez Canal went into effect. Dr. Jarring said the talks would be held in New York. The initial stages will be at the level of the UN ambassadors of Israel, Egypt and Jordan. But, he added: “It continues to be my hope” that the talks would be elevated to the level of foreign ministers. Israel had been insisting the talks should be held at a foreign minister’s level since the latest U.S. peace initiative was launched. Asked whether the three-month cease-fire which went into effect on Aug. 7 would be expanded. Dr. Jarring said. “I would be happy if the cease-fire can be prolonged. But I would be even more happy if we can reach a solution before the cease-fire ends.” In his first statement to the press in almost three years in his Middle East role. Dr. Jarring said. “I feel sure that the parties will enter the discussion with the firm intention of finding a solution. I hope that with good will, they will in time reach an agreement on a just and lasting peace.”
Questioned on the procedures to be used in the talks. Dr. Jarring replied that he would see the negotiators “one by one.” He added. “I don’t think that in a problem like this, text books are written on how to behave…We have to play it (by ear) to see which way we can find in the future.” Asked if he was thinking of any time limit for the talks. Dr. Jarring said. “I am not planning, just hoping that everything will go with speed…We shall start tomorrow and I hope to continue every day without delay. I assure you, I am not looking for delay.” Israel designated yesterday Foreign Minister Abba Eban as chief negotiator at the peace talks and UN Ambassador Yosef Tekoah as alternate. Mr. Eban. who has no travel plans until next month when he is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly, will continue the negotiations when it reaches the ministerial level. The move by Israel in naming both its foreign minister and ambassador was seen here by diplomatic sources as a compromise with Egyptian and Jordanian approaches that the talks be conducted – at least at the beginning – on the ambassadorial level. Israeli leaders, including Mr. Eban. have made it clear too that the talks must be conducted on the ministerial level to prevent the negotiations from being downgraded.