WASHINGTON (Oct. 13)
Declaring that “I reaffirm today that we will not accept stagnation or stalemate in the Middle East.” President Ford signed the Congressional resolution authorizing the dispatch of American civilian technicians to man surveillance posts between Israeli and Egyptian lines in Sinai. He termed the interim accord between Israel and Egypt a “significant step toward an overall settlement in the Middle East.”
Congressional approval of the American presence and its signature by the President, makes the accord now fully operative, to be implemented according to the timetable and military protocols worked out by Israeli and Egyptian negotiators in Geneva last month.
Ford said the U.S. must continue its efforts in the Middle East “in order to sustain the momentum toward peace generated by the Sinai agreement.” He praised Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger for his role in negotiating the accord. “We have made good progress in good part because of the trust placed in the United States by both Israel and its Arab neighbors,” Ford said. “The United States must accept the responsibilities which flow from our stake in peace in the Middle East and from our bilateral relations which form the foundation for success in our diplomatic efforts.”
The President said his signature on the joint resolution of Congress “reaffirms the commitment of the United States to work toward a just and lasting peace for all nations and all people in the Middle East.”
Earlier today, White House Press Secretary Ron Nessen declined to comment on reports that President Ford would meet President Hafez Assad of Syria during his trip to France next month for a summit meeting of six industrial nations.