WASHINGTON (Nov. 7)
President Carter’s outgoing special Middle East Ambassador Robert Strauss emphasized today that the Carter Administration’s policy in the Arab-Israeli situation will continue without change. Strauss comment followed the White House statement yesterday that Sol Linowitz will replace Strauss.
Rex, Granum, Deputy Presidential Press Secretary, also told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency yesterday that the personnel shift will represent “no change in tactics or policy ” by the Administration in the current Mideast situation. He said the U.S. position will be to continue to assist both Egypt and Israel in their negotiations over autonomy for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Strauss, who will be heading Carter’s reelection campaign committee, met with reporters at a private break fast meeting this morning and said he will return to the Mideast Nov. 17 at the invitation of President Anwar Sadat of Egypt for ceremonies Sadat has planned at Santa Katerina Monastery at the foot of Mr. Sinai following Israel’s transfer of the site to Egyptian sovereignty Nov. 15. He also disclosed that Sad at and Carter spoke by telephone yesterday but did not say what the discussion entailed.
Strauss said “there is no possibility” that Carter will attempt “in a dramatic way” to achieve a comprehensive peace settlement in the near future. He denied that no substantial progress had been made in the autonomy talks between Israel and Egypt. He contended that the talks “are not behind schedule” and “things are proceeding well.” Last month, however, he maintained that “not one iota of an agreement” had been reached in the autonomy talks.
Discussing the Linowitz takeover as special Midwest envoy, Strauss said “nothing is lest” in the transition period between the time he steps down and Linowitz is officially named as envoy. Linowitz’s appointment is subject to Senate confirmation. There was no immediate indication as to when Carter would submit his name to the Senate.