WASHINGTON (Jan. 27)
Secretary of State William P. Rogers said today that the United States will continue its efforts to help negotiate a Middle East peace despite indications from Cairo that the Egyptian government maintains a negative attitude toward American initiatives.
Addressing the National Foreign Policy Conference for Editors and Broadcasters, Rogers said that the US is not seeking to take part in the negotiations simply to participate but “because both sides want us.” The US, he added, is “prepared to continue the role if both sides want us. Our role can be very useful as it has been in the past.”
Reports from Jerusalem yesterday stated that disagreements have developed between Israel and the US over the latter’s role in the proposed Suez Canal talks. In Cairo, President Anwar Sadat told students and political leaders Tuesday that Egypt has broken off all talks with the US on a diplomatic solution to the Mideast crisis and that talks with the Soviet Union are in progress.
U.S. SEEKS SENSIBLE MIDEAST PEACE
Rogers was asked whether American’s role as mediator in the Mideast can be continued in view of Cairo’s position. The Secretary of State elicited laughter from the 500 editors and broadcasters when he replied that after three years as Secretary of State “I don’t take anything at face value.”
He added: “I think it is possible we can play a role. We have had communication with all concerned.” If special United Nations envoy Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring can get the negotiations started, Rogers said, “we would like that,” (Dr. Jarring was scheduled to leave his UN headquarters tonight to go to Senegal and Mauritania for talks on a Mideast peace with the Presidents of the two African nations.)
Rogers noted that as a result of American peace initiatives, the Middle East has had a cease-fire for 19 months and “we hope it will continue.” He said, “We have done as much as we could as a nation to involve ourselves in the diplomatic process” to keep that cease-fire. The US has sought a “sensible peace in the Middle East–fair to all concerned,” he said, and the US wants to “lay the foundation for a peace that will be lasting.” Referring to the issue of Soviet Jewry, Rogers said he welcomed the emigration of Soviet Jews and noted that the “Soviet Union has permitted more emigration this year, but not as much as we would like.”