JERUSALEM (Jan. 1)
Foreign Minister Yigal Allon told the Knesset today that Israel would need no prodding to enter into second stage talks with Egypt if the postponement of Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid Brezhnev’s visit to Cairo means that Egypt is ready “to enter into talks on a serious basis of give-and-take.”
While cautioning that it was too early to assess the real meaning behind Brezhnev’s change of plans, Allon said if Cairo is prepared to negotiate “it will be in Israel’s own self-interest to initiate the negotiations and nobody from the outside needs to push us or hurry us into them.” He added that “shoving us may have the opposite effect.”
The latter remark seemed to be directed to Washington where pressure is expected to develop on Israel to come forth with new proposals for a second stage agreement with Egypt. Allon reiterated that any Israeli territorial concession in the Sinai would be contingent on Egyptian political concessions. He said that Israel would retain enough territory in a second stage agreement to induce the Egyptians to continue the negotiating process toward a final overall settlement.
(By David Landau)