WASHINGTON (Oct. 7)
Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger flatly ruled out any meeting with a Palestinian leader while he is in the Middle East for discussions with five countries on the next phase of his efforts to negotiate an Arab-Israeli settlement. “There is no possibility I will see (Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasir) Arafat or any other Palestinian leader while I am in the Middle East,” Kissinger told a news conference at the State Department.
Kissinger leaves Wednesday for visits to Egypt. Syria, Jordan, Israel and Saudi Arabia and then will fly to Algeria and Morocco before returning here Oct. 15. He himself announced only today that he was extending his original four days of travels to six days and would visit the latter three countries in addition to Israel and her neighbors.
Kissinger said he was going to the area without “any fixed ideas” on the next stage of his efforts. Asked whether he would be emphasizing Israeli-Egyptian or Israeli-Jordanian settlements or both, the Secretary replied that it was “always understood progress in one area will have to be linked with progress in other areas and therefore we are talking about timing and the particular stages that look most promising.”
NO CONCRETE RESULTS EXPECTED
He cautioned that “no concrete results in the form of agreements or dramatic announcements can be expected from this trip.” He indicated that the most that can come forth is “concreteness in the negotiating process and perhaps to agree on some timing.” This appeared to mean that he did not foresee Israeli withdrawals or Arab countries pledging “non-belligerence” towards Israel at this time as elements in progress. towards a Settlement.
Significantly, he noted in announcing his visit to Saudi Arabia that it was “in connection with the negotiation.” King Feisal has insisted on Jerusalem being under Arab control. Later, however, when Kissinger was asked about Arab spokesmen drawing a clear link between the oil crisis and the Middle East and whether there is “any realistic way of separating the two,” the Secretary denied this was the case.
Declaring he disliked the phrase “oil crisis,’ Kissinger said that “we believe” the “higher oil prices” and the Arab-Israeli conflict “should be in separate forums,” and “we are conducting them in separate forums.” Kissinger explained that the United States is negotiating “these two. issues separately because high oil prices af-feet many nations” that are not “remotely connected” with the Arab-Israeli conflict.