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Mrs. Meir’s Appeal to Sadat for Prompt Talks Lauded in Western Capitals, Eban Reports

Foreign Minister Abba Eban told the Cabinet today that Prime Minister Golda Meir’s appeal last Wednesday to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to enter immediate negotiations with Israel has been viewed in Western capitals as a serious political initiative. He added that Western countries felt that Israel had done well in pointing out to Egypt once more the advantages to be gained from a negotiated peace.

He also reported that the United Nations and the International Red Cross were continuing efforts to arrange an exchange of prisoners between Israel and Egypt and Syria. Israel has rejected requests from the United Nations Security Council to release one Lebanese and five Syrian officers captured in a foray on June 21 against terrorist bases in Lebanon. Israel insists on a general exchange of prisoners.

The Foreign Minister was asked about a reported statement by UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, in a West German TV interview, that Israel should withdraw from “the” occupied territories. He replied that the Israel Embassy had been trying without success to obtain a transcript of the interview. He said he had also instructed Yosef Tekoah, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, to bring the matter up on his next meeting with Waldheim.

Eban said he was certain that Waldheim would not leave uncorrected an inaccurate citation of an international document, a reference to Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967 which refers to withdrawal from territories but which does not include the definitive article — “the” territories. Sources here said they were not questioning the Jewish Telegraphic Agency report from Bonn on the Waldheim TV interview. They said Waldheim may simply have been careless in his phraseology, since the Middle East is not his only concern and the “subtle differences” between territories and “the” territories is not always uppermost in his mind.

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