NEW YORK (Sep. 30)
Syrian Foreign Minister Abdul Halim Khaddam emerged today from a breakfast meeting with Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and expressed pessimism over prospects for peace between Syria and Israel. “All doors for peace are closed,” Khaddam told reporters, “There is nothing to talk about.”
Khaddam did not attend a dinner for members of the Arab League that Kissinger hosted last night at the United States Mission to the United Nations at which the Secretary said that the aim of his consultations with foreign officials attending the UN General Assembly meeting is to “determine how to proceed between Israel and Syria, if the parties desire.”
The dinner, the third Kissinger has given for the Arab League since becoming Secretary of State in 1973, was attended by 11 foreign ministers and representatives of eight other Arab states.
U.S. INVOLVEMENT ‘IRREVERSIBLE’
Stressing that the U.S. involvement to achieve peace in the Middle East and help improve the area’s economic conditions is “irrevocable” and “irreversible,” Kissinger said, “The American people are conscious of this new approach and support it.” He said he believed that Congress would approve the Ford Administration’s request for aid to Israel and Egypt.
While noting that the U.S. was still involved in the step-by-step approach in the Mideast, he stressed that “We have always intended that the step-by-step approach would merge at some point with discussion of an overall settlement.” He said the U.S. did not want to divide the Arab states since “only a united Arab world can make a final peace.”
Kissinger also said that “Questions of territory, borders and military deployment cannot be dealt with unless the issues of political and economic settlement are given equal attention.” He said the U.S. knows that “each party has the right to judge the gains and compromises that are possible for it at any given stage as it accepts or rejects steps toward peace.”
Saif Ghobash, Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates and chairman of the Arab League, in his reply, expressed appreciation for the efforts by Kissinger and President Ford in the Mideast but declared that the prerequisites for peace in the area were total Israeli withdrawal from Arab territory and the recognition of the rights of the Palestinians.
During the dinner members of Save Our Israel (SOIL) demonstrated outside the U.S. Mission declaring that Jews would vote against Ford because of his pressure on Israel.