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Eban Critical of Open Diplomacy As Practiced by U.S.

Former Foreign Minister Abba Eban was obliquely critical of President Carter yesterday when he questioned the efficacy of open diplomacy as practiced by the United States with respect to the Middle East conflict.

Addressing an international conference here on the role of the media in political conflicts, Eban said “The magic of open diplomacy has been oversold. When diplomacy is open, it is less congenial to compromise. If it is dramatic and histrionic, it is less likely to provoke reason. If the Arabs can get their main demands through open diplomacy, it is hard to see what Israel would have to offer at a peace conference.”

He said that excessive zeal in delineating the conditions of a possible settlement in advance could disrupt the balance of incentives that is the key to all successful negotiations. He warned that the Arabs may now believe that the U.S. has the will and capacity to coerce Israel into policies that most Israelis would regard as incompatible to the national interest.

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