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Church Proposes U.S. Incentives for Peace in the Middle East

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Sen. Frank Church (D. Idaho) urged the Carter Administration to bolster U.S. policy in the Middle East with a strategy “that rewards those who work with us” for peace and extracts “a price from those who work against us.”

Church, who will assume the chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January, outlined his “incentives for peace” in remarks prepared for delivery tonight at a dinner of the American Friends of Haifa University in New York. The organization will present him with the Carmel Laureate Award on the occasion of Haifa University’s eight anniversary.

In his speech, Church urged all countries in the Middle East to support the Camp David accords and emphasized especially the roles of Jordan and Saudi Arabia. He indicated that the U.S. should demand more than “benign indifference” from the Saudis. He noted that the U.S. has always been a “staunch supporter” of Jordan and declared that “Now is the time to bring our full weight to bear upon Jordan to support the Camp David accords.”

Church also said that, as the U.S. begins “its new partnership” with Israel and Egypt in the peace-making process, it should halt economic aid to Syria if that country refuses to withdraw its forces from Lebanon or refuses to establish “a secure, recognized border on the Golan Heights.”

Church said that U.S. military assistance for Israel must continue and warned that “Israel will be confronted for years to come with those Arab extremists bent on the destruction of the Jewish State.”

URGES FIRM LINE WITH SAUDI ARABIA

He called for a firm U.S. line with Saudi Arabia which “through its massive financial aid to Egypt, Syria and Jordan…exerts much leverage on the policies of those three countries.” He said “It is imperative that we make clear to the Saudi government that our strategic concerns are mutual, that our interests are intertwined and in the last analysis it is the American security umbrella which shields the kingdom from potential Iraqi or Soviet aggression.”

In such circumstances, Church declared, “we have every right to expect the full and forth-coming cooperation of Saudi Arabia in our quest for a regional peace….Even a Saudi policy of benign indifference falls immeasurably short of what we, the de facto protector of Saudi Arabia, should expect.”

Church recalled that the Administration justified its sale of 60 F-15 jets to Saudi Arabia last spring by what it called “the immense importance of Saudi Arabia in promoting a moderate and responsible course both in Middle East regional developments including peace-making and international economic and financial affairs.” He declared that “Tonight, I remind the Administration of its own words.”

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