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U.S. Mideast Peace Efforts As Seen by White House Stresses Active Role

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What role has the United States played since President Nixon took office three years ago to achieve peace in the Middle East? According to a White House staff paper released today, the US has been actively trying to achieve peace through negotiations. This assessment is contained in a two-paragraph statement in the staff paper titled “Richard Nixon’s Third Year” issued by the office of Herbert Klein, Director of Communications for the Executive Branch.

The paper stated: “When President Nixon took office he had the choice between continuing to stand back and let what he called the ‘powder keg’ situation in the Middle East develop, or initiating a more intensive United States role in the effort to achieve peace. He chose the more intensive effort and throughout 1969 he sought to establish the basis for Arab-Israeli peace negotiations through multi-lateral talks with the British, French and Soviets and through bilateral talks with the parties to the dispute as well as the USSR,” the White House paper said.

It continued: “When military tension mounted in early 1970, the President in June, 1970, launched a ‘peace initiative’ to restore the cease-fire and start negotiations. Cease-fire was restored and continued through 1971. The initiative also set up a negotiating framework, but major issues still divide the two sides. The effort in 1971 has been directed first to launching negotiations under Ambassador Jarring and then to trying to achieve an interim free-opening of the Suez Canal that could provide stimulus to further negotiations.”

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