JERUSALEM (Dec. 30)
Observers here discounted today the theory that Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid I. Brezhnev’s visit to the Mideast was cancelled due to his “health condition.” The observers expressed the view that the cancellation of the trip was due to political differences between the Soviet Union and Egypt. They believe that the stumbling block in the talks between Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmy and War Minister Abdel Gamassi was probably the reconvening of the Geneva peace conference since Egypt is apparently not ready to abandon U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger’s step-by-step approach.
Observers now expect Kissinger to increase the pace toward a resumption of the negotiations directed to lead eventually to another interim agreement. At the same time, officials here rejected a report attributed to syndicated columnist Jack Anderson which said Kissinger complained of Israeli inflexibility in the Golan Heights which caused the present stalemate.
The officials noted that both during Foreign Minister Yigal Allon’s recent Washington visit and afterwards there was no mention of a possible retreat from the Golan at this stage of the talks. However, observers here recalled that there has been continued concern over the possibility which had been referred to in the past over an Egyptian demand to link all agreements with Israel to both herself and Syria.