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U.S. Envoy Made Progress in Mideast, Says State Dept.

February 12, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The State Department indicated optimism Thursday about the results of the visit to the Middle East by Richard Murphy, assistant secretary of state for the Near Eastern and South Asian affairs.

But as Murphy was scheduled to brief Secretary of State George Shultz on his trip late Thursday, the department still refused to provide any specifics of the U.S. peace initiative Murphy discussed with Israeli and Arab leaders.

“We think some progress has been made,” State Department spokesperson Phyllis Oakley said. “There is a lot of work to do and we’re working on it.”

Murphy’s return has increased speculation that Shultz may go to the Mideast this month to carry out a shuttle diplomacy effort between Israel and Jordan and other Arab countries.

But Oakley refused to confirm this, stressing that no decision has been made. She repeated Shultz’s long-held position that he “is always ready to travel to the region if his presence can contribute to moving the peace process along.”

Shultz is scheduled to be in Moscow Feb. 21-23, so any trip to the Mideast presumably would come after that.

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