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Raid: Uar Prepared to Enter Peace Agreement with Israel in Exchange for Withdrawal

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad met for an hour today with President Georges Pompidou. He delivered a written message from President Anwar Sadat thanking France for its support and “efforts to achieve a just solution in the Middle East.” Riad was also scheduled to meet today with The Netherlands Foreign Minister Dr. Joseph Luns, who is in Paris. The Egyptian diplomat told newsmen later that his government is still prepared to enter into a peace agreement with Israel in exchange for Israeli withdrawal from all occupied territories. “We offer Israel peace and a full guarantee both for her border and for free navigation through the Straits of Tiran,” Riad said. He added, “Israel should not continue to play poker with us as she may lose all.” (In an interview with N.Y. Times correspondent Henry Tanner, published today, Riad accused the Nixon administration of refusing to bring effective pressure against Israel to withdraw from occupied territory. He said that was to blame for “the complete and very serious deadlock” in the Mideast peace moves so far.)

(In his interview, Riad said that no new developments had emerged from his meeting in Paris on Tuesday with United Nations mediator Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring or from a message he received from U.S. Secretary of State William P. Rogers. The Rogers message was understood to have said that Riad should not believe newspaper reports that the administration has softened its position on Israeli withdrawal in order to mollify Senate critics, Tanner reported. Riad charged that American officials were using vague “new language” conflicting with their earlier assurances to Cairo that Israel would be persuaded to withdraw if Egypt accepted a binding peace agreement. “The ball is in the hands of the Americans.” Riad told the Times correspondent. “They used to tell us ‘we are the only country that can get Israel to withdraw.’ Now they say, ‘We are trying to persuade them but we don’t know how long it will take or whether it will succeed,'” Tanner reported.) (In Washington, Charles Bray, a State Department spokesman, said today he had no comment on Riad’s charge that American officials were using “new language,” nor on his comment that the “ball is in the hands of the Americans.”)

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