Soviet Pamphlet Hints at Major Shifts in Russian Middle East Policies

Western analysts are studying the contents of a Soviet pamphlet, not yet officially published, which hints at major shifts in Soviet Middle East policies including Moscow’s willingness to participate in an international peace-keeping force in the Mideast. The pamphlet was shown to correspondents in Moscow yesterday by Novosty, the Soviet press agency. Novosty is not regarded as an official arm of the Soviet Government, and unlike Tass, its dispatches are published only outside the USSR. These factors and others indicated to the correspondents that the pamphlet was in the nature of a trial balloon that pointed in the direction of the Kremlin’s current thinking on the Middle East. The pamphlet suggested that Israel’s 1967 borders could be modified in a final settlement. This is considered a departure from previous Soviet insistence that Israel must return to the borders that existed on the eve of the Six-Day War. Some analysts thought however that this could be interpreted as supporting further Arab encroachments on Israeli territory. The pamphlet also suggested broadened demilitarized zones on both sides of Israel’s borders guaranteed by United Nations forces. However, it went on to propose that the four great powers–U.S., Soviet Union. Britain and France–or the Security Council as a whole act to ensure the safety of the Arab and Israeli borders. This would mean a Big Four peace-keeping force, a matter which has reportedly been discussed by the Soviets but never made public. Some analysts said the Russians were interested in participating in such a force because it would ensure their continued presence in the Middle East after an Arab-Israeli peace settlement reduced Arab dependence on Soviet assistance.

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