Sir Douglas-home Says Israeli Withdrawal Prerequisite to Peace in Mideast

Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home said in Cairo last night that Britain regards Israeli withdrawal from occupied Arab territory as a vital requirement for peace in the Middle East. He said that the final border between Israel and Egypt should be the old international frontier “subject to whatever arrangements may be agreed for Gaza.” The British diplomat spoke at a dinner in his honor given by Egyptian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad. He reiterated essentially what he said at a meeting of Conservative Party leaders at Harrogate, England last winter.

Sir Alec said that Israeli withdrawal would be in exchange for an end of all “claims of belligerency” between Israel and the Arab states and observed that there was no substitute for an agreement which would embody these two basic elements. (Foreign Ministry circles in Jerusalem said this afternoon that an official version of Sir Alec’s remarks had not been received but that if their content was as reported by news media, there would be an official reaction.) Sir Alec referred in his speech to what he termed Egypt’s “unequivocal and specific commitment” to sign a peace agreement with Israel on the basis of withdrawal. He hinted that Britain was disappointed that Israel has not made a similar commitment on withdrawal.

The British Foreign Secretary completed his first round of talks with Riad. Reportedly, Britain was urged to use its influence with the United States and the European community to exert pressure on Israel. Riad was said to have emphasized that Britain was in a position to play an important role in effecting a solution of the Middle East crests. Referring to international guarantees of any peace settlement, Sir Alec said last night that Britain, would consider participating “in whatever way seemed appropriate” in a United Nations peace-Keeping force. He stressed that such a force must not be withdrawn except through a positive resolution of the Security Council.

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