WASHINGTON (May. 19)
The Likud victory in Israel and other phases of the Middle East situation have prolonged the U.S. -Soviet talks in Geneva, the State Department indicated today. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko will continue their discussions into Saturday rather than to have ended them tomorrow. The two governmental leaders were due to discuss the Middle East later today, the Department said.
In a related development, the State Department sought to cool the view of UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim that a “dramatic deterioration” and a possible new military conflict might follow the Israeli election. Department spokesman Frederick Brown said that Waldheim “made it very clear he was speaking for himself” and giving “his personal opinion.” He would not comment on other views expressed on the election by commentators. (See related story this page.)
Meanwhile, the State Department was intensely preoccupied with two other matters related to the Israeli election. One was the hastily called meeting in Riyadh at which Syrian President Hafez Assad Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Saudi Arabian King Khaled and Crown Prince Fahd were meeting to discuss the election results and Fahd’s visit to Washington next week. He is to meet with President Carter May 24 and 25.
The Fahd-Carter meeting is seen as the climax of the President’s round of talks with Middle East leaders. Saudi Arabia, the financial source for the confrontation states and the Palestine Liberation Organization, is regarded as the key to impelling the Arabs to move towards recognizing Israel and negotiating an agreement with her.