JERUSALEM (Oct. 29)
Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger appears to have persuaded the Soviet leadership not to stand in the way of his planned renewed Mideast peace efforts. This is the view of official observers here, based on U.S.-Israel contacts yesterday and today and on their own analysis of the U.S.-Soviet communique Issued after talks between Kissinger and Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid Brezhnev.
Israel’s contact with the U.S. Indicates that the Secretary will go ahead with his plans to tour the Mideast within two weeks after his scheduled speech on world food problems in Rome Nov. 5. The U.S.-Soviet communique, while clearly indicating deep differences between the two sides on the future solution of the Mideast conflict, nevertheless revealed Soviet readiness to allow Kissinger to proceed with his peace effort without too much hindrance from the Kremlin, the Israeli officials said.
The Soviets will apparently not insist on the immediate convening of the Geneva peace conference, es the Arab hard-liners demand, but will stand back and await the results of Kissinger’s “step by step” effort to launch Israel-Egypt talks on a partial Sinai settlement. According to one observer here, Brezhnev believes the American effort is doomed to failure, and for that reason is content to allow it to go forward. The Soviets are also said to be loath to provoke a confrontation with Washington at this time of burgeoning detente and when the long-awaited most favored nation status is within their grasp.
The U.S. Soviet communique issued yesterday called for “early” convening of the Geneva talks, a vague term compared to previous calls for the “immediate” start of the conference’s work. Israeli observers noted, moreover, that the Kremlin leadership’s message to the Arab summit conference In Rabat, while calling for the “immediate” resumption of the Geneva talks, carefully avoided any explicit condemnation of the American peacemaking effort.
EGYPT, ISRAEL FAR APART ON TALKS
President Anwar Sadat of Egypt is known to favor the American approach at this stage and is” anxious to begin interim talks with Israel, though his concept of a partial Sinai settlement and Israel’s concept are at this moment very far apart. Sadat is determined that both the talks and the eventual settlement be of a purely military nature, a sort of second-stage disengagement.
Israeli leaders, on the other hand, have declared repeatedly that they will insist on an agreement of significant political import, such as a specific renunciation of belligerency and an undertaking to seek an eventual solution through political means only. These undertakings would be coupled with practical manifestations of progress towards peace, such as the ending of economic and political warfare against Israel.
Whether or not new talks with Egypt–and possibly with Jordan at a later date–get under way depend heavily on the outcome of the Rabat summit, observers here said. Sadat has proclaimed his intention to enter info such talks, and he seemed to have the backing of King Feisal of Saudi Arabia. But he would hardly do so if the bulk of the Arab world was against such a move.
The Israeli Cabinet will meet in special session Friday to analyze the Rabat results and plan its own further moves in advance of Kissinger’s visit.