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U.S. Reacts to the Elections

The White House said today that President Carter believes that the “basic nature of the relationship” of Israel and the United States is apart from the identity of their leaders.

Presidential News Secretary Jody Powell, commenting on the probability that Likud leader Menachem Beigin will be the next Premier of Israel, said that Carter told him “the most important aspect of the relationship” between the two countries “was quite apart from the particular identity of the leaders of either country and is based on the long standing friendship of the peoples of the two countries.” Powell also said that the President has “no concerns” about Israel’s government.

Earlier, the State Department said that the Carter Administration would not comment, analyze or interpret the outcome of Israel’s election but made it clear that the U.S. will continue to push the Middle East peace process.

“We recognize that Israel will need some time to put a government together,” the State Department said in a brief statement read by spokesman Frederick Brown. “Once that happens we will want to get on with our consultations with Israel and the Arab governments on how to move the peace process forward. The U.S. government remains fully committed to that process.” In response to a question, Brown said that “once the Israeli government is formed we look forward to meeting the new Prime Minister.”

(Meanwhile in Geneva, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, arriving there for talks with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, said “We shall have to see what sort of government shall emerge. It would be unwise to speculate until then.” The uncertainty over the election was given as the reason why Vance and Gromyko, who were due to discuss the Middle East in depth today, have postponed this discussion for a day or two.)

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