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Disengagement Talks Uncertain Again

March 19, 1974
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The start of disengagement talks here involving Israel and Syria remained uncertain today. State Department spokesman George Vest indicated that the talks probably will not get started until Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger returns from his visit to Moscow at the end of the month. Vest also said that there were “no firm plans” for Kissinger to visit the Middle East again now. But he said there “remains a possibility” that he might make the trip after his meetings with Latin American foreign ministers here and in Atlanta April 17-19.

Vest’s remarks at today’s press conference indicated that disengagement was marking time, though when asked if the talks were being delayed, he replied. “No, that is not intended to be the case.” He said no official word has been received here as to when Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan would be coming to Washington. Vest said that “nothing at all yet” has been heard from the Syrians.

He said the Syrians would most likely send their representative to Washington after the Israelis depart and that the disengagement discussions here would probably be consecutive not simultaneous. Kissinger meanwhile is engaging in other foreign policy matters. Vest said he will be in Moscow March 24-27 and in London March 28 before returning to the U.S. But Kissinger will meet at 3 p.m. tomorrow with Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban for further talks on disengagement and a Kissinger visit to the Middle East, Vest said.

(By Joseph Polakoff)

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