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    The United States Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Kissinger, completed the first two legs of?

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    The United States Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Kissinger, completed the first two legs of his latest Middle East peace mission on Sunday (9 March)--and found the leaders of both Syria and Egypt firmly against a direct settlement with Israel.

    Dr. Kissinger arrived in the Egyptian city of Aswan on Saturday (8 March) to begin negotiations for a further pull-back of Israeli forces in the Sinai Desert, which Israel has occupied since 1967. It is his 11th and perhaps most crucial visit to the Middle East.

    During a day of talks with President Anwar Sadat, Dr. Kissinger was told that and Egypt firmly rejected the non-belligerency agreement Israel wants before it will withdraw from Sinai.

    But Dr. Kissinger said he expects to make at least three trips between Israel and Egypt during his marathon set of negotiations, and more positive Egyptian moves towards agreement are expected later.

    However, the Secretary of State found an even sterner mood prevailing in Damascus on Sunday (9 March) where he had four hours of talks with Syrian President Hafez Al-Sadan.

    Having, the day before, declared his willingness to form a united military and political command with the Palestine Liberation Front (PLO), President Assad told Dr.Kissinger that Syria would not go to resumed Geneva peace talks without the Palestinian commandos. Israeli leaders have repeatedly said they will not meet with the PLO, whom they consider a "terrorist" organization.

    After his talks with President Assad, Dr. Kissinger went on to Tel Aviv to meet Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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