Dinitz: Arab Summit Statement Not an Impediment to Peace Talks

Israeli Ambassador Simcha Dinitz said here yesterday that he saw nothing new in the statement issued by Arab leaders attending the summit conference that a settlement would depend on Israeli withdrawal from all occupied territories, especially Jerusalem, and the restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people. He told reporters that this declaration, issued yesterday at the end of the summit meeting, was not an impediment to peace talks since the Arabs did not make Israeli withdrawal a condition for negotiations. They had posed such a requirement before the Yom Kippur War erupted, he noted.

Meanwhile, elements of flexibility were seen today by senior United States officials here in the Arab summit conference statement. These officials pointed out nuances that lend encouragement towards maintenance of the momentum for a peace conference between the Arabs and Israelis. It was pointed out, for example, that while the Saudi Arabians had been saying, before the summit conference, that they would not modify their position on the oil embargo, the conference indicated that the embargo would depend on progress toward their goals at the Geneva conference.

In addition, the U.S. sources noted that the Arab summit could have established a Palestinian government in exile but this was not done. Jordan was left with room for maneuver in that the way was left open for King Hussein to participate in the Geneva conference. Hussein’s government was severely criticized at the Arab summit both for the King’s position towards the Yom Kippur War and his attitude towards the Palestinians and the West Bank.

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