UNITED NATIONS (Dec. 16)
The United Nations’ Middle East emissary, Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring, called on Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban this morning “to discuss the resumption of his (Dr. Jarring’s) mission under Security Council Resolution 242,” according to an Israeli statement. The meeting, which lasted an hour at the Plaza Hotel, was scheduled at the Swedish envoy’s request. Yesterday he met for an hour with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad.
As all three men are due to leave New York by week’s end, it appeared that the two sides had not sufficiently resolved their incompatible stands on territorial withdrawal to warrant reactivation of the Jarring Mission. It seemed, therefore, that the next development would be a renewed attempt by the United States to effect an interim agreement.
Eban, who was accompanied this morning by Ambassador Yosef Tekoah, contended, according to an Israeli statement issued after the meeting, “as he had already made clear in the General Assembly,” that Israel was ready for a resumption of the Jarring mission on the basis of Resolution 242.
Citing the report of the recent African peace mission, which found a willingness for peace by both sides, Eban stated to Dr. Jarring that there was “a sufficient basis for detailed and concrete negotiations on all points at issue between Israel and Egypt.” Riad, however, reiterated the Egyptian view yesterday that negotiations cannot begin until Israel agrees beforehand to withdraw.
Observers here viewed the meetings as more in the way of sounding out the concerned parties in the aftermath of Monday’s vote in the General Assembly than a formal peace-seeking mission resumption. It appeared to some that Israel and Egypt were willing to give the US at least one more chance to mediate an interim agreement. Washington’s desire to concentrate on this specific issue was given Monday by Ambassador Christopher H. Phillips when he stated, during his explanation of why the US abstained from voting, that the US policy had not changed in any way.