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Eban Tells Jarring Israel Will Continue to Support His Mission

March 22, 1968
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Foreign Minister Abba Eban cited today’s Israeli military operation against El Fatah terrorist bases in Jordan during the course of a 90-minute meeting today with the U.N. special representative to the Middle East, Ambassador Gunnar Jarring. Mr. Eban reportedly told the U.N. envoy that the latest developments once again proved the dangers inherent in the present situation which will last as long as there are no peace negotiations and as long as the Arab states refuse to recognize Israel. He noted that the Arab governments continue to sponsor and activate large-scale terrorist groups in violation of their undertakings under last June’s cease-fire agreements. Mr. Eban told Ambassador Jarring that Israel continues to support his peace-seeking mission and is ready to negotiate with any or all Arab governments under his auspices.

It is believed that Mr. Eban, not Dr. Jarring, raised the subject of today’s military action inasmuch as the latter felt it was too late for mediation. The U.N. envoy came here from Cyprus after visiting Amman yesterday. He is not believed to have brought any further information for the Jordanian capital since his last visit in which he informed Israel that Jordan had rejected his proposal to send representatives to a preliminary meeting on Cyprus. Dr. Jarring returned to Nicosia tonight.

Political observers said here tonight that the re-opening of the Israel-Arab dispute before the Security Council may put an end to Ambassador Jarring’s mission. Ambassador Jarring is known to have opposed a renewed appeal to the Security Council as long as his mission was active. But today’s developments have brought both Israel and Jordan before the world forum once again. And while their representations are, technically confined to the immediate armed clash it is fell that today’s episode cannot be isolated. If the Arabs heap accusations on Israel and charge Jerusalem with responsibility for the present deadlock, Israel would have no choice but to present the Security Council with a documented record of its talks with Ambassador Jarring. Dr. Jarring too, would probably be forced to take sides to clarify his personal views. The lifting of the secrecy which has so far veiled his delicate probings for peace in the Middle East could, observers say, mark the end of the Jarring mission.

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