U.S. Insists Saudi Arabia Remains Committed to Mideast Peace Process

The United States today insisted that Saudi Arabia “remains committed to the peace process in the Middle East as we have always said,” but it refused to say on what basis it continues to hold this view.

State Department spokesman Hodding Carter, under sharp questioning about the belief that the Saudis induced Egypt to issue its demand that Israel withdraw completely from all areas taken in the Six-Day War, declared to reporters that the U.S. position of last spring about Saudi Arabia being in support of the peace process “is still a valid argument.”

Carter’s remarks came as Senators who accepted the Carter Administration’s argument last May and voted to provide 60F-15 warplanes to Saudi Arabia were preparing a letter of protest that reportedly says in effect that the positive impact on peace attributed to Saudi Arabia is not taking place. When Carter was asked about this, he said he had not seen the letter and would not comment.

A summation of overseas comments widely circulated among high U.S. officials today said that Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s ultimatum last Sunday suggested that it is an attempt to force the U.S. to offer its own proposals for a Middle East settlement and that Egypt was abandoning its separate peace talks with Israel at the bidding of Saudi Arabia because the Saudis favor Arab unity in dealing with Israel.

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