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Vance: There is No Hurry to Get Peace Talks Going Again

January 12, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Secretary of State Cyrus Vance refused today to disclose the “thoughts” conveyed to the U.S. by Egypt and Israel on “how the negotiating process might be resumed” between them and indicated that he is in no hurry toward the resumption of the peace treaty talks.

Addressing a press conference at the State Department, Vance said both Israel and Egypt have “mode clear they want to resume negotiations” and that discussions are taking place on the best way to get negotiations going again. He said “What we want to be sure is that in doing this we do it by a process to give the negotiations the best chance to be successful. There fore, we are taking our time in exploring the best way to try to deal with some of the more minor problems before we proceed to sitting down together and to try to thrash out the more difficult issues.”

Later, Vance said he would not go into “details of the positions” of Egypt and Israel. “This is a matter that should be discussed in private negotiations between the two parties and ourselves,” he said, adding that he would be “hindering the situation by going into details of what their positions are.”

He said that “when we might meet is still under discussion” and added that “one of the things we are thinking of is perhaps having exchanges” on the Ambassadorial level “on the more minor matters” before scheduling a meeting between himself, Prime Minister Mustapha Khalil of Egypt and Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan. With respect to the site of a future high level meeting, Vance noted that “everybody has said as far as they are concerned they are willing to have it anywhere.”


Vance’s indications of a slow process in negotiations appeared to confirm media reports over the past month that President Carter and Vance himself are letting the Egyptian-Israeli talks simmer as a result of Vance’s unsuccessful mission in December. That mission failed when Israel rejected Egypt’s four changes in the treaty draft prepared by the U.S. which Israel had accepted. Carter endorsed the Egyptian changes before Vance presented them to Israel.

Vance, in his press conference, defended Iran’s sovereignty and continued U.S. support for the Shah’s position in the Iranian constitution. He said the U.S. has “vital interests” in the Middle East, including the oil flow and trade at a time when the U.S. is having balance of payments problems and needs to increase its exports. “What happens in Iran is being closely followed in the Middle East and includes those nations which are involved in the Arab-Israeli-conflict,” he said. “Therefore, it is very clear our interest in Iran and the region are vital interests,” Vance said.

Asked about the U.S. intention to send 12 F-15 fighters and American airmen to Saudi Arabic in view of the turmoil in Iran, Vance observed that “profound” and “fundamental” social and economic changes are taking place “affecting not only Iran out the region generally.” He said “the U.S. will work closely with friends who wish to see security in the area.”

A reporter asked Vance if the U.S. has changed its view of Libya as a supporter of terrorism and his opinion of President Carter’s brother, Billy Carter, serving as “front man” and “tour guide” for a group of Libyans seeking to improve Libya’s image in the U.S. Billy Carter was censured by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith this week for remarking that the refusal by Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson to receive the Libyan delegation was due to “Jewish pressure.” (See related story.)

Vance replied that “Libya has now signed three conventions with respect to hijacking in the air which is a different position from the past.” Without mentioning Billy Carter by name, he told the reporter “I am not familiar with the facts on the second part of your question.”

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