U.S. Rejects View That Murphy’s Middle East Trip Was a Failure

A State Department spokesman rejected an assessment that the recent trip to the Mideast by Richard Murphy, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, was a failure.

“We certainly don’t regard it as a failure,” Charles Redman, the Department’s deputy spokesman said Friday. He noted that the Mideast peace process was “by its very nature” going to be incremental and it’s unlikely that there will be dramatic breakthroughs.

Before Murphy left for a six-day visit of Israel, Jordan and Egypt, the State Department had indicated that he would meet with a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation if the United States could be assured that the meeting would lead to direct negotiations between the Arab delegation and Israel. But Murphy was unable to budge King Hussein of Jordan from his insistence that peace negotiations be held in the context of an international conference.

Redman reiterated Friday that “the process, however, continues and we are considering the next steps.” He added that Murphy, who is consulting with State Department officials on an assessment of his trip, is in California where he will meet with Secretary of State George Shultz. There was no indication that Murphy will also see President Reagan, who, like Shultz, is vacationing in California.

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