WASHINGTON (Jul. 9)
Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger affirmed today that Israel and Egypt were not yet at the point of concluding a new accord. He made this statement to newsmen at Andrews Air Force Base as he was leaving for Europe for a four-day visit to Paris. Geneva, Bonn and London during which he will meet with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko and Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin.
Asked by a reporter about wide-spread reports that Israel and Egypt had already agreed on essentials of a new Sinai agreement, Kissinger said, “Totally wrong.” Asked whether the two sides were at least approaching the conclusion of a new accord, the Secretary added, “We are not anywhere near that point, but all sides, Israel and Egypt, are working seriously.”
Asked about reports that the U.S. might provide guarantees for a new interim settlement, Kissinger indicated that this was one of the elements being considered. “Any progress toward peace in the Middle East has two elements: the negotiations between the two parties and what the United States can contribute in the way of any assurances or acting as a transmitter of assurances of the two sides to each other,” he said. “Whatever it is humanly possible to do, the United States will do to promote progress.”
Reports that Israel and Egypt had already reached a point of concluding a new agreement were denied earlier in Jerusalem, Washington and in Cairo. (See Wednesday Bulletin for earlier story.)