U.s.-israel Talks Proceeding on Interim Canal Pact, Modernization of Israel’s Armed Forces

Israeli-American talks on an interim Suez Canal agreement and the “modernization” of Israel’s armed forces are taking place, State Department spokesman Charles Bray revealed today. The disclosure followed a visit to the State Department today by Israeli Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin, who conferred with Assistant Secretary Joseph J. Sisco. It was at least their third meeting in recent days.

Bray said the subjects of discussion included the “long-range modernization” of Israel’s military power. (After the Dec. 2 White House meeting between President Nixon and Israeli Premier Golda Meir. Presidential press secretary Ronald I. Ziegler said talks on that matter would subsequently be held.) Bray said today that he could not report “any dramatic progress” on a canal pact since Secretary of State William P. Rogers’ remark Dec. 23 that Israel had “indicated its willingness” to engage in “proximity” talks on the subject but that he was uncertain about Egypt’s position.

Bray would not comment on the Egyptian government’s attitude toward the canal discussions or on the reported statement by President Anwar Sadat that Egypt’s enemy is now Israel plus the United States in view of the US military assistance to Israel announced during the past two weeks. Bray would say only that there were “a number of loose ends still to be tidied up.”

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