JERUSALEM (Nov. 25)
The African peace mission’s main aim is a revival of the Jarring mission, informed sources said here today. The four African heads of state were said to believe they had found a way to break the deadlock over the United Nations effort caused when Israel rejected Ambassador Gunnar V. Jarring’s demand of last Feb. 8 that she commit herself to total withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories.
Officials said that Premier Golda Meir was studying a memorandum prepared by the four Africans–President Leopold Senghor of Senegal, Gen. Yakubu Gowon of Nigeria, President Joseph D. Mobutu of Zaire (formerly the Congo-Kinshasa) and President Ahmadou Ahidjo of Cameroon. Mrs. Meir also repeated to government leaders her determination that no Egyptian troops be allowed to cross a reopened Suez Canal. Foreign Minister Abba Eban said this afternoon that he understood Egypt has received an identical memo.
The impression was gained that the two African leaders who have returned here–Senghor and Gowon–do not regard Israel as an aggressor, nor do they demand Israeli withdrawal to the June 4, 1967 lines. Both of these points were included in a resolution last July by the Organization of African Unity, which the four-member peace mission represents.
However, the exact position of the Africans will be known only after a complicated procedure is completed. First, Israel and Egypt will reply to the memos to Senghor, the delegation’s leader, in Dakar, the Senegalese capital. Then the subcommittee of the peace mission will report to the committee of 10 African heads of state. The latter will draw up recommendations and send them, with summaries of their meetings, to UN Secretary General Thant in New York. The entire procedure is expected to be completed within four weeks. Senghor and Gowon left Israel today after a 30-hour stay.
In Cairo today, the authoritative newspaper A1 Ahram insisted that Egypt will not give up one inch of the Sinai and would never negotiate with Israel. This appeared to be a response to the prevalent feeling among Jerusalem commentators that the African leaders had agreed that Israel is not obligated to withdraw completely from the occupied territories. A1 Ahram also repeated that a canal reopening is possible only if Egyptian troops can cross the waterway and if Israel States that her pullback from the canal is a first step toward total withdrawal–both of which demands have been rejected outright by the Meir government.