WASHINGTON (Dec. 17)
President Ford and French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing discussed the Middle East during their two days of talks in Martinique but apparently did not resolve their differences over how best to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger told a press conference in Martinique yesterday that “there was a full exchange of their respective points of view. No conclusions were reached or announced.”
According to the transcript of the news conference released by the State Department today, Kissinger also said the discussion mainly centered on each side getting a fuller understanding of the other’s point of view.
Pressed as to whether France had agreed to the U.S. policy of seeking step-by-step negotiations in the Mideast, Kissinger replied that “my impression is that there is no disagreement with the step-by-step approach.” if, he added, this approach can be achieved.
However, earlier this month at the conclusion of a meeting in Paris between Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid I. Brezhnev and Giscard d’Estaing. the two issued a joint communique calling for a resumption of the Geneva peace conference on the Mideast “as soon as possible.” The communique also said that a viable peace in the region is contingent on “the retreat of Israeli troops from all territories occupied in 1967.”