UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Nov. 18)
Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring, Secretary General U Thant’s personal Middle East mediator, will return to Moscow, possibly as soon as tomorrow, because, in the words of a Thant statement, “until talks can be resumed there is little more he can do at United Nations headquarters.” Mr. Thant’s statement said the Swedish ambassador to the Soviet Union “is well” advised to return for the time being.” Mr. Thant emphasized that Dr. Jarring has informed Israel, Egypt and Jordan of his “constant availability” and his willingness to “return within a matter of hours” should conditions warrant. Israeli Premier Golda Meir, softening her position on her government’s return to the negotiating table, said Monday that it would do so if “the proper conditions” are met. For the first time she did not insist on rectification of Egyptian missile violations as a prerequisite. This will not be the first time Dr. Jarring has left the United States since Israel withdrew from the peace talks in late August after one session. An Israeli spokesman said today that Dr. Jarring recently assured Israel that there had been no change in the provisions of his mandate and that he still considered it based on Security Council Resolution 242 of Nov. 22, 1967.
In his statement, Secretary General Thant said it was “not reasonable to expect the talks will resume.” He added that there would be “frequent and regular communications” between him and Dr. Jarring during the latter’s absence from New York. A British spokesman said today that Dr. Jarring had informed the British ambassador, Sir Colin Crowe, of his decision yesterday, and that Sir Colin had fully agreed there was “nothing for him to do” here. The British spokesman stressed that the Jarring mission should not be considered “abandoned.” One Western diplomat said Dr. Jarring’s departure should not be deemed a slap at Israel. The diplomat said he not only hoped for but expected the peace talks to be resumed by the end of the year. The negotiator is obliged to report to Secretary General Thant by Jan. 5 on the progress of his stalled three-and-a-half-year-old mission. Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban was scheduled to confer this evening in Washington with Secretary of State William P. Rogers and then fly to London.