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Jarring Tells Eban Egypt Rejects Cyprus Talks but Envoy Will Persist

March 11, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A completely negative attitude by Egypt toward talks with Israel was communicated by Dr. Gunnar Jarring, the special United Nations emissary to the Middle East, to Foreign Minister Abba Eban at a meeting here today. It was learned, nevertheless, that Dr. Jarring, who brought his negative report from a five-hour meeting in Cairo last Thursday, did not consider his mission as having been forced to an end. He plans to leave tomorrow for Cyprus, where he has his headquarters, and from there he will go to Amman, for more talks with Jordanian officials.

Informed sources said that Dr. Jarring had invited Egypt to send representatives to Cyprus for talks with Israel. However, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mahmud Riad was reported to have said, after meeting with Dr. Jarring, that Egypt rejected any form of talks, direct or indirect with Israel. The Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, which often reflects President Nasser’s views, reported Friday that Dr. Jarring was informed during his talks in Cairo Thursday that Egypt categorically refused to send representatives to Cyprus for such negotiations. There had been earlier unconfirmed reports that the Egyptians were willing to participate in such talks with Dr. Jarring as a participant, a formula acceptable to Israel.

Mr. Eban reiterated to the Swedish diplomat that Israel would cooperate in any Jarring invitation to face-to-face talks but Israeli officials indicated they did not expect Dr. Jarring to return soon to Jerusalem. He has been visiting Cairo, Amman and Jerusalem almost every week since he started his mission. Official sources declined to confirm reports that Israel had agreed to a Jarring suggestion that “liaison officers” be appointed at his Nicosia headquarters but it was understood that such a proposal was in fact made and rejected by Egypt.

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