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Shultz Seeks to Dampen View That He is Planning Imminent Visit to the Middle East

Secretary of State George Shultz seemed to dampen speculation Sunday that he plans a trip to the Middle East sometime soon.

But in an appearance on the NBC-TV “Meet the Press” program, he implied that such a visit could come about if something constructive emerges when King Hussein of Jordan visits Washington June 9.

Shultz stressed that he is “always ready to go to the Middle East if there is something worthwhile that has at least some chance of being accomplished.” He added that does not mean success has to be guaranteed. “I am willing to fail and try,” he said.

Shultz noted that Abraham Sofaer, the State Department’s legal advisor, has returned from a two-week unsuccessful attempt to help settle the dispute between Israel and Egypt over the Taba region.

“I work on the problem of the Middle East practically continuously and I don’t intend to let up,” Shultz said. “If we just move the ball along an inch, why I think its worth it, its worthwhile.”