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Kissinger, State Department Say Rabin Has Not Created Any Problem in Demanding Face-to-face Talks

The State Department said today that “no problem” has been created with respect to Israeli-Egyptian negotiations for an interim settlement by Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin’s statement yesterday that the signing of such an agreement would have to be preceded by face-to-face contacts between the Israeli and Egyptian negotiating teams.

Department spokesman Robert Funseth said the U.S. has “received no complaint from the Egyptian government about that statement.” He told reporters that “A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington informed us yesterday afternoon that the Prime Minister’s remarks should not be interpreted as meaning something new. The character of the meeting the Israeli government has in mind is what has been done before between Israeli and Egyptian representatives in implementing the details of previous disengagement agreements.”

Funseth added that the State Department accepts Israel’s interpretation and confirmed that the statement was relayed to the Egyptian government by U.S. Ambassador Hermann Eilts in. Cairo. “The U.S. government has no problem with this (Rabin’s statement) and we have received no complaint from the Egyptian government about the statement,” Funseth said.

Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, emerging from a meeting with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters that the U.S. did not have the impression that Rabin’s call for face-to-face talks was an added demand by the Israelis nor an additional obstacle to settlement. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat today told the National Congress of the Arab Socialist Union that direct negotiations with Israel were out of the question.