JERUSALEM (May. 6)
Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger will fly to Cyprus tomorrow for a meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko. The surprise announcement was made here today by Robert J. McCloskey, U. S. Ambassador-at-Large who is a member of Kissinger’s entourage. He said that Premier Golda Meir had been notified by Kissinger several days ago that such a meeting was possible.
McCloskey said the Kissinger-Gromyko meeting would include pre-summit discussions about SALT, the European security conference and bilateral relations. Kissinger and Gromyko met in Geneva only one week ago. According to McCloskey, Kissinger will return tomorrow to Israel from Cyprus. He is expected to fly to Damascus on Wednesday, a day later than originally scheduled. Top U.S. officials in Kissinger’s entourage denied that the Secretary and Gromyko were trying to arrange “a deal.”
The pace of Kissinger’s diplomatic efforts to promote Israeli-Syrian disengagement has already visibly slowed down. The Secretary returned to Israel this afternoon from Amman. Jordan. Reporters accompanying him said he hoped to get a new map and fresh ideas from the Israeli government following yesterday’s Cabinet meeting. But Israeli officials have stressed that no decisions were made at the 4 1/2 hour session. They said that no aspect of disengagement has reached the stage of crystallization and that everything was still in the “initial exploratory stage.” They indicated that more Cabinet meetings will be held during the week.
RUSSIANS WANT TO SHOW VISIBILITY
Reliable sources said here tonight that the Kissinger-Grommet meeting on Cyprus was probably initiated by the Russians to demonstrate their visibility in the process of disengagement talks conducted by Kissinger. The sources said that the Cyprus meeting should not be taken as indicative of a common U.S. Soviet attitude toward solving the present conflict in the area but as a Russian attempt to demonstrate its involvement in any agreement that might be reached between Israel and Syria.
Israeli sources said tonight that Kissinger was trying to persuade the Syrians to de-escalate the fighting on the northern front and, according to the same sources, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat promised Kissinger he would try to do the same. According to some observers here, the Cyprus meeting should be viewed in light of these attempts to reduce the scale of fighting. Israeli sources said that Israeli demands for a limited forces zone on the northern front covered an area of 40 kilometers from the Israeli settlements on the Gold Heights. Syrian response to this proposal will indicate their intentions regarding a disengagement accord, the sources said.
McCloskey, in announcing Kissinger’s Cyprus trip, noted pointedly that a Kissinger-Grommet meeting in Damascus where the Soviet Foreign Minister spent two days had never been considered. Observers said McCloskey was trying to make it clear that U.S. Syrian relations have not reached a point where the Syrian capital would be considered as the site for such a high level meeting. (By David Landau and Tuvia Mendelson.)