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Former Reagan Official Says Soviet Arms Cutbacks Good Sign for Israel

The 10 percent cutback in Soviet conventional weapons promised by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in his recent address to the United Nations could foreshadow a decline of Soviet support to extremist Arab elements, according to a former official of the Reagan administration.

Kenneth Adelman, former director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, made his remarks at the fourth annual Jeane Kirkpatrick Forum at Tel Aviv University this week.

Adelman said that if Soviet policies continue on the path of arms reduction, a time could come when the USSR will play a cooperative role in the Middle East.

He warned, however, that the easing of U.S-Soviet tensions would decrease American reliance on Israel as a Middle East factor that “stands up to the Russians.”

The Kirkpatrick Forum included discussions on a wide range of topics, from Soviet arms reductions to the shortage of drinking water in the Gaza Strip.

The forum is named in honor of the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Dr. Joyce Starr, senior associate of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, warned that available water resources in Israel and Jordan will fall 30 percent short of meeting needs by the end of the century.

She urged the sharing of water data among Israel and its Arab neighbors, even in the absence of peace agreements.

“Water will be the first issue on the agenda between Israel and the Palestinians,” Starr said.

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