UNITED NATIONS (Aug. 26)
The Middle East peace talks continued today despite the absence from New York of Israeli Ambassador Yosef Tekoah. Mr. Tekoah, who met twice yesterday with Ambassador Gunnar V. Jarring, departed for Israel last night, some 12 hours after the talks began. to confer with Israeli government leaders. Dr. Jarring conferred today with Abdul Hamid Sharaf, the Jordanian ambassador to the United States, and with Dr. Mohammud H. El Zayyat, the Egyptian ambassador to the United Nations. Mr. Sharaf, who is sitting in for Muhammad H. El Farra. the Jordanian ambassador to the UN who is now in Amman conferring with his government, said he would return to Washington this afternoon but would be on call for further talks with Dr. Jarring. A UN spokesman said the absence of Mr. Tekoah “does not affect the talks themselves. The talks are going on and will continue. There are other things to do and Jarring is maintaining other contacts.” The spokesman said he doubted that Dr. Jarring knew in advance that Mr. Tekoah was preparing to return to Israel. UN officials declined to speculate as to the reasons for Mr. Tekoah’s departure. It was known Monday night, however, that the Israeli envoy was scheduled to leave the next day. The general feeling among diplomatic sources was that Mr. Tekoah returned to Israel to provide government leaders with the initial mood of the talks, the subjects discussed, and to get further instructions on continuing talks until Israel’s chief negotiator. Foreign Minister Abba Eban, arrives in New York late next month or early October for the 25th session of the General Assembly.
Sources here said the main topics of discussion between Mr. Tekoah and Dr. Jarring and between Dr. Jarring and Dr. El Zayyat yesterday and today concerned Israel’s complaints of continuing cease-fire violations by Egypt and Israel’s request for a prisoners-of-war exchange. It was learned that Mr. Tekoah told Dr. Jarring that if the Arabs want to show good faith they can begin by releasing Israeli prisoners. Dr. Jarring was reported to have replied that this was not under his mandate as peace mediator. Dr. El Zayyat, after emerging from his conference with the peace envoy today, told newsmen that Israel was “raising pseudo issues.” The Egyptian ambassador agreed that this problem was not part of Dr. Jarring’s mandate. However, according to a report dated April 27, 1970, issued by the UN’s Special Committee that was then investigating the condition of human rights in the occupied territories. Dr. Jarring was instrumental at least once in obtaining the release from Israel of a number of Egyptian consuls who had been captured by the Israelis during the Six-Day War. According to testimony given the committee by one Tewfik Wasfi, Dr. Jarring intervened on the behalf of the consults in January 1968 while he was stationed in Jerusalem. Yesterday, neither Dr. Jarring nor Mr. Tekoah would disclose the contents of their talks. After seeing Dr. Jarring at 9:30 a.m., Mr. Tekoah returned shortly after 3 p.m. for his second visit. Sources at the UN said the second visit was arranged so that Mr. Tekoah could check on the Arab views before returning to Israel and to indicate that Israel was serious about the talks. (Mr. Tekoah, who arrived at Lydda Airport in Tel Aviv this afternoon, refused to elaborate on his talks with Dr. Jarring).
TALKS EXPECTED TO MOVE TO MINISTERIAL LEVEL NEXT MONTH WHEN MINISTERS ARRIVE AT UN
Dr. El Zayyat told newsmen, after his conference with Dr. Jarring, that the first cease-fire violation had been committed by Israel and was reported to Egypt “within three hours” of the start of the 90-day truce on August 7. He said there had been no public announcement of this at the time because “If you are going to sail one way you should not row the other way. If we are trying to make here a constructive effort, there should be no destructive statements.” (Israel has issued five complaints of cease-fire violations, including the movement of missiles and the construction of missile bases within the 32-mile standstill zone, to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization. The first complaint was issued a few days after the cease-fire went into effect.) Dr. El Zayyat said he was satisfied with the first session and declared that Egypt was engaged in an “earnest search for peace.” Mr. Tekoah also told newsmen yesterday that if the “governments are desirous of obtaining a genuine peace, we are confident this will be possible.” The talks at the UN are expected to proceed slowly and at an uneven pace until the foreign ministers of Israel, Jordan and Egypt arrive in New York for the General Assembly session. At that time, it is expected that the talks will move to the ministerial level. Dr. Jarring indicated as much when he told a news conference on Monday: “Israel has appointed its Foreign Minister as the delegate and the Permanent Representative (to the UN) as alternate. As for the other. I know that their Foreign Ministers will be here and, of course. I will be seeing all of them…When the Foreign Minister arrives here, he supercedes the Permanent Representative automatically.” Yesterday, after lunching with Secretary General U Thant, Dr. Jarring reportedly stated: “We have begun. We will continue.”
NIXON. TOP AIDES DISCUSS MIDEAST SITUATION AND U.S. ROLE IN MIDEAST TALKS
(Meanwhile, the role of the Big Four in the developing efforts to reach a Mideast settlement appeared to be diminishing while the possibility of Big Two talks – the United States and the Soviet Union – seemed to loom larger as a way of complimenting the peace talks under Dr. Jarring. This possibility emerged yesterday from a meeting between Pres. Nixon and his top foreign advisors, Secretary of State William P. Rogers. Assistant Secretary Joseph J. Sisco, and Henry Kissinger, the President’s national security advisor. The four officials met in the summer White House at San Clemente, California, to discuss the Middle East situation and the role of the U.S. in the Israeli-Arab peace talks. According to reports, there was agreement that for the next few weeks the U.S. would watch the negotiations now being conducted on the ambassadorial level. Next month, when the ministers of Israel. Egypt and Jordon come to New