Rabin: U.S. Agrees Partial Canal Accord Not Linked to Withdrawal

Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Yitzhak Rabin, disclosed that the United States had agreed that a partial Suez Canal agreement would not be linked in any way to a complete Israeli withdrawal from the administered than territories. In a special interview published Friday in the newspaper Maariv, conducted during Rabin’s brief return to Israel, the envoy disclosed the existence of an official transcript of talks held at the beginning of this year with Joseph J. Sisco, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs.

The transcript, Rabin said, states that Israel is not obliged to undertake full withdrawal in the context of a canal reopening. “This protocol between both our governments remains as the declared policy of both countries with regard to the quest for a political settlement between Israel and Egypt,” Rabin told Maariv.

Rabin, who returned to Washington on Friday, said the U.S. realizes that an overall settlement without outside force is impossible at this time because Egyptian and Israeli differences are too wide. “Therefore,” he said, “the U.S. is aware of the fact that there is no hope to advance on the basis of a complete settlement….As to the partial solution, the U.S. sees the Egyptian reluctance as the main hindrance to achieving the partial solution.”

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