Sisco: Oil Affects U.S. Mideast Policy

The United States need for Arab oil sources is a factor in Washington’s policy in the Middle East. This assertion was made here in a television interview by Assistant Secretary of State Joseph J. Sisco. The American diplomat stated it would be “foolhardy” for anyone to deny that this is so and emphasized that while American and Israeli interests are parallel they are by no means identical.

Sisco also expressed Washington’s continued irritation with the lack of progress toward an Arab-Israeli peace settlement and noted, “The longer there is no solution, the harder it will be to achieve a solution.” He said that the U.S. has important economic, political and strategic interests in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf or the Arabian Peninsula. “There is increasing concern in our country over the energy question, and I think it is foolhardy to believe that this is not a factor,” he said.

EBAN DENIES U.S. POLICY BASED ON OIL

In his television interview, Sisco called on both Israel and Egypt to reassess their position and get negotiations started. Earlier in the week he expressed the same views in an interview with Maariv editor Arye Dissentchik and in a discussion with Simcha Dinitz, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S.

Foreign Minister Abba Eban said today that American foreign policy is not influenced by oil interests. Speaking to journalists at Lod Airport as he was departing for Brazil and Bolivia, he said the U.S. veto in the Security Council of the anti-Israel draft resolution supported this view. Eban plans to visit New York on his way back from South America and will meet with United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, who is to visit the Middle East, including Israel, in the near future.

The Israel lands administration has been and is continuing to buy land from Arabs in administered areas. This was stated Friday night by the administration’s director general, Meir Zorea, who said that land was being acquired from Arabs in the areas either by exchanging tracts of public land in the territories or through direct purchase. Speaking on the Army Radio, Zorea said this was a long drawn out process.” “But this land has been waiting for us for two thousand years, so there is no rush,” he said.

Tourism to Israel, which was trailing the 1972 figures by about 15 percent during the first three months this year, may catch up with the previous year’s total if the subsequent upward trend continues, Tourism Minister Moshe Kol said in Jerusalem. He said that by the end of July the year’s total was about 3 percent less than in July 1972.

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