Eban. Vietnam Cease-fire Should Be a Lesson for the Middle East

Foreign Minister Abba Eban said today that the lesson of the Vietnam cease-fire–the power of patient negotiation–should be learned by Egypt which during the last five years had tried every method except negotiation to end the Middle East conflict. Eban made his remarks during the course of a lengthy foreign policy statement to the Knesset in which he said that Israel received “with boundless joy” President Nixon’s and Hanoi’s announcement last night that a Vietnam cease-fire would be signed on Saturday.

Eban told the Knesset that Israel felt friendship and respect for all the people of Vietnam. “On Saturday, for the first time in our generation, no cannon would roar and no bomb explode throughout the world,” he said. He announced that Israel would soon open an Embassy in Saigon and that it had “found a way of telling North Vietnam” that it wished for diplomatic relations with Hanoi as well.

Eban said that Egypt had eschewed negotiation while trying to resolve the Middle East conflict through military force, terrorism and efforts to bring outside pressure on Israel. He said he thought that a partial Suez Canal settlement was still the likeliest path to peace and noted recent statements by U.S. Secretary of State William P. Rogers and President Georges Pompidou of France favoring that approach.

The Israeli Foreign Minister also noted that Pompidou promised recently in Djibouti, capital of Somaliland, that the Straits of Bab el Mandeb, linking the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean, would be kept open to international shipping. Eban said the International situation made the time ripe for diplomatic progress and that it was up to the Arab states to seize the opportunity. He praised King Hussein of Jordan for recently renouncing force as a means to gain his ends.

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