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Echeverria Appears to Confirm Report That He is Trying to Promote Face To-face Egyptian-israeli Meet

Mexican President Luis Echeverria climaxed a four-day visit to Israel today by apparently confirming a report that his goal in suddenly dispatching his Foreign Minister, Emilio Rabaso, to Cairo Friday was to try to promote a face-to-face meeting between Israeli and Egyptian leaders. The report was carried in today’s Jerusalem Post.

Echeverria, speaking at a press conference, said he had sent Rabaso to Cairo “in an effort to take a step forward….in negotiations that are possible between Israel and Egypt,” Rabaso flew from Israel late Friday on the Mexican President’s special jet which returned to Israel later without him. Rabaso met with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat yesterday. Echeverria said he would meet with Rabaso in Jordan later today or early Monday to get Sadat’s response.

FINDS POSITIVE ATTITUDE

Echeverria told newsmen here today that he had found a “very favorable, positive attitude” on the part of Premier Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Yigal Allon with whom he held political talks Thursday evening. Rabin, Allon and Defense Minister Shimon Peres are Israel’s team for the negotiations for a second Sinai interim accord.

The Mexican President also told the press conference that he had found Rabin “open to negotiations, open to dialogue and to the exchange of ideas.” He said it was as a result of his political talks with Rabin and Allon that he had sent Rabasco to Cairo to see if a similar attitude existed there. Echeverria and his party had been in Egypt for four days before coming to Israel. He said “If Rabasco finds the same favorable attitude… we will have been able to contribute in a tangible way to this first step forward.”

Mexican officials, reacting to the discrepancy between the Jerusalem Post report on Echeverria’s intentions and his phraseology at the press conference, said later that Echeverria appeared “not to be contradicting the Jerusalem Post account of his intentions in sending Rabaso.” However, the officials appeared reluctant to depart, in their on-the-record statements, from Echeverria’s exact wording, Israeli officials confirmed that Rabin had reiterated to Echeverria his readiness to meet with Sadat “any time, any place.”

(See next column for additional Rabin-Echeverria press conference story.)

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