Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said today, following the third meeting between President Ford and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, that further discussions are required with other Arab countries before the U.S. will determine its approach towards seeking further progress toward a Middle East settlement.
Appearing before the press at the White House soon after the third-Ford-Rabin meeting, Kissinger said the talks were conducted in a “cordial and friendly atmosphere,” that the results were “very constructive” and that “the alternatives” for further negotiations were in “sharper focus.”
Kissinger pointed out that the Syrian Foreign Minister, Abda-Hlim Khadam, will be in Washington to meet the President and he mentioned specifically that Egypt will be consulted again and other “interested parties” but he specifically ruled out meetings with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
U.S. NOT PUSHING ANY ONE APPROACH
Kissinger said that the U.S. would “stay in close touch” with the government of Israel and added that “in the next few weeks a final clarification” will be made by the U.S. on the “best course” on “the basis of consensus” of “all the parties.”
He did not include the Soviet Union, although he was asked specifically who the parties were. Kissinger pointed out that the purpose of the meetings of the President with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Rabin were not for the purpose of “definitive conclusions” or “detailed negotiations” but to enable the President to contact” the principal leaders and review the alternatives for progress.
Kissinger said it was not likely that a policy statement would be issued by the President in the next week or two although he characterized the meeting with Rabin as “a considerable step forward,” He said that the United States is “not pushing any one particular approach” but intends to pursue the one most promising.
NEW MIDEAST TRIP ‘NOT EXCLUDED’
This conviction, he said, was “emphatically shared” by Rabin, He said there was “a certain parallel approach” by Egypt and Israel for an interim agreement which is one of the three options the President enumerated last week. Other options are a convening of the peace conference at Geneva and bilateral talks under the “umbrella” of the Geneva conference.
However, Geneva was not mentioned by Kissinger today. Asked about aid for Israel, Kissinger said there was no question of U.S. economic and military aid to Israel but that the “question” was the relation of the Israeli “large requests” to “other considerations.” He said that no precise date for the presentation to the Congress of the U.S. aid program for Israel and its Arab neighbors had been set.
He said neither Egypt nor Israel had put forward a “definitive proposal” for a second interim agreement and he said that a trip by he himself to the Middle East “is not excluded.”
Reporters raised questions about the U.S. attitude toward Israel since the breakdown of the last Kissinger mission on March 22. He said there was “no purpose” to return to the issues that led to the breakdown because both sides “know what the major concerns of each other are.”
‘FATEFUL DECISIONS’ FACE ISRAEL
Kissinger drew laughter when he said “as anyone negotiating with Israel knows. I can assure you that the danger of Israel giving away something for nothing is extremely remote.” He also said Israel would face “fateful decisions” and the U.S. “crucial decisions” and the Ford-Rabin meetings gave the leaders “a full opportunity to understand the intangible aspects of the other side.”
When he was asked whether there would be an end to the charges that Israel was responsible for the breakdown of the March mediation attempt and whether the impression that Israel was stubborn had been wiped out by the Ford-Rabin meetings. Kissinger joked that an Israeli friend of his defined objectivity as “one hundred percent of Israel’s point of view.” He said “We are now looking to the future” and “we believe that all the parties with whom we have talked are interested in progress toward peace.” He referred to Rabin’s toast last night that no country in the world wants peace more than Israel.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.