UNITED NATIONS (Aug. 30)
The peace talks here under the auspices of Ambassador Gunnar V. Jarring are expected to resume their round-robin sessions tomorrow after a two-day break last week. It is considered unlikely that the talks this week will proceed much beyond another restatement by the ambassadors of Israel, Jordan and Egypt of their government’s basic positions regarding a settlement in the Middle East. The discussions are expected to focus again, as they did last week, on charges and counter charges of cease-fire violations and on the issue of Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories. Israeli Ambassador Yosef Tekoah, who returned to Jerusalem two days after the talks began on Aug. 25 to confer with government leaders, is expected back here by mid-week. It is understood that he and Israeli government leaders are anxious for the talks to continue but that uppermost in the talks, so far as the Israelis are concerned. is the security of Israel. Mr. Tekoah’s guideline, as diplomatic sources here see it, may have been spelled out by Israeli Premier Golda Meir during her television interview in Jerusalem last Thursday when she stated: “We have to discover if the Arabs are ready to accept the Jewish state as it is. If they are, then we can discuss the details. If they are not, then there is nothing to discuss.” Mrs. Meir’s statement came against the background of her announcement that she will come to the United States in October to attend the 25th anniversary session of the General Assembly. Israel’s Foreign Minister, Abba Eban, is also scheduled to attend the General Assembly at the same time.
With the possibility that President Nixon, France’s President Georges Pompidou and Soviet Premier Alexsei Kosygin will also attend the General Assembly session, a series of summit conferences of the four leaders appeared to be likely. The resumption of the peace talks is viewed by many at the UN as a formality marking time until the foreign ministers of Israel, Jordan and Egypt arrive here to take over from their ambassadors. Dr. Jarring, during his press conference last Monday when he announced the start of the peace talks, emphasized that the ministers would “automatically” take over when they arrive. Diplomatic sources point out that other elements may intervene that will either stall or supplant the peace talks on either the ambassadorial or ministerial level. One is that the real powers – behind the scenes now but emerging as the major protagonists onstage – will be the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Their role was tacitly underscored when Dr. Jarring was reported to have called the U.S. and Soviet Missions to the UN last week to confer with representatives of both nations about the significance of Mr. Tekoah’s return to Jerusalem. In addition, sources note, the element that will provide greater problems to the peace negotiators and Dr. Jarring is that of the Palestinian guerrillas who have vowed to sabotage any peace efforts. Meanwhile, there is growing concern that the 90-day cease-fire will expire without any accord having been reached. There is a growing pressure by the U.S. and reportedly by Dr. Jarring for the cease-fire period to be extended. The talks this week may well disclose the outlines of the protracted and frenzied efforts to reach a Mideast settlement before the cease-fire period ends on November 5.