JERUSALEM (Nov. 4)
Foreign Minister Abba Eban left for Bucharest tonight for a 3-4 day visit at the invitation of the Rumanian Foreign Minister Georgio Macovescu. An official communique issued here over the weekend said the two ministers would “exchange ideas on the subjects of common interest to the two countries. Eban reportedly will also meet with Rumanian Premier Ion Gheorghe Maurer. Macovescu is well-known to Israelis. He was here in 1968 and again in 1971. both times as Deputy Foreign Minister. Premier Golda Meir visited Rumania in May, 1972.
Political observers here agreed that the Rumanian invitation, delivered last Thursday by their Ambassador. Johan Covacz, is an attempt to exert that country’s Influence on both parties in the Middle East conflict. It is expected here that Arab diplomats will be invited to Bucharest after Eban’s visit.
There was speculation here as to the specific purpose of the Rumanian initiative and whether Bucharest acted independently or with the knowledge and approval of Moscow. Some analysts here maintained that Rumania would not dare to intervene without Moscow’s consent but most sources discount the possibility that the invitation to Eban was set up by the Russians. They noted that if the Russians want to talk to Israel they do not have to go through Rumania.
Bucharest is believed to be interested in playing a role of mediator in the Middle East conflict and Israel is expected to give serious consideration to any serious mediation offers, but only as an early step aimed toward getting the parties into face-to-face negotiations.
One informed source said today that the Rumanian invitation was a Communist attempt to show that communications between Russia and Israel do not necessarily go via Washington. While U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger is trying to evolve current political activity around the U.S. capital, Moscow is opening new channels, the source said. The source could not say whether there was a specific message awaiting Eban in Bucharest or whether the Invitation was merely demonstrative.