Rabin Charges USSR Prevents Reconvening of Geneva Peace Talks on Basis of Original Invitations

Premier Yitzhak Rabin charged last night that the Soviet Union prevents the reconvening of the Geneva peace conference on the basis of the original invitations extended to the parties in the Middle East conflict by the Secretary General of the United Nations following the Yom Kippur War. The Russians have adopted a policy of total support for the most extremist Arab states, Rabin said on a television interview.

He made his remarks when asked if Israel’s apparent interest in keeping the Soviet Union out of Middle East diplomatic activity might not make that country a sworn enemy of Israel. Rabin said, “To the best of my knowledge, it is the Soviet Union which, through its policy, decided that Israel would be its sworn enemy, not Israel that decided this.”

He said the Soviets were the main supporters of the PLO. “If the Soviet Union continues to cling to its extremist anti-Israel policy. I see no reason why Israel need be interested in its initiatives,” Rabin said. On the other hand, he reiterated that Israel is prepared to negotiate an overall peace settlement with the Arabs at Geneva on the basis of the original invitations or, alternatively, to seek agreements with its neighbors to end the state of war.

The Premier said the Soviet Union could play a role in establishing peace in the Middle East, “but to do so, it must change its approach, its policy and its attitude.” As of now, he said, the Soviet policy in the Middle East has been to propose the military option to the Arab states in their struggle against Israel by means of huge arms shipments to the most extreme Arab states.

The interview, conducted on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Israeli-Egyptian interim agreement in Sinai elicited from the Premier an acknowledgement that there had been Egyptian violations of the accord during the year. “These are of secondary military significance but we should see that they are corrected,” he said without elaborating on their nature. However, Rabin said that the Egyptians appeared to be interested in observing the agreement and were likely to continue to do so in the foreseeable future.

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