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U.S. Mum on Possible London Talks

The State Department today sidestepped a question on why a possible meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Egypt and Israel with Secretary of State Cyrus Vance is contemplated for London and not Jerusalem.

“If and when we have a meeting I will entertain the question,” State Department spokesman Hodding Carter said. Earlier, Carter appeared to agree that the contemplated London meeting would be on basic issues which the Egyptian-Israeli political committee would grapple with–the West Bank and Gaza and the Palestinian problem.

The committee session in Jerusalem was broken off by President Anwar Sadat two days after it had begun its sessions last January. Carter said consultations by the U.S. with Egypt and Israel are continuing for direct negotiations between Cairo and Jerusalem but he could not say when the direct talks would take place.

Carter also sidestepped the question whether Vance would meet separately with the Egyptian and Israeli Foreign Ministers in London. “We are interested in getting them back into direct negotiations, “he said. The question of a London meeting is expected to be a prime topic when Vice President Walter Mondale visits Israel and Egypt this weekend.

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