• Short Summary

    Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko is on a visit to Arab capitals in an effort to strengthen Soviet-Arab relations.

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    Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko is on a visit to Arab capitals in an effort to strengthen Soviet-Arab relations.

    In the Syrian capital, Damascus on Sunday (2 February) he met with Palestine Liberation Organisation (P.L.O) leader Yasser Arafat. During their discussions the Soviet leader affirmed his country's support for the equal participation by the P.L.O in the Geneva Middle East Peace talks. And it was announced after their talks that Mr. Gromyko and Mr. Arafat had discussed "the equitable rights of the Palestinian people and their right to the establishment of self-government in their own Palestinian state."
    On Monday (3 February) Mr. Gromyko flew to Cairo for talks with Egyptian leaders. He first met his Egyptian counterpart Ismail Fahmi. He want straight into talks with Mr. Fahmi on the first day of his three-day stay. But, afterwards, the Soviet Foreign Minister said that differences between Moscow and Cairo could not be settled in one session.

    The Russians are urging that the Geneva Peace Conference should be convened immediately, while Egypt wants to give a chance to the step-by-step approach of U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger.

    But on Tuesday (4 February) the mood had changed, following a long session with Egypt's President Anwar Sadat. The President was delighted to announce later that a new chapter had been opened in his country's relations with the Soviet Union and said Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev would visit the Middle East soon. President Sadat said: "We have reached agreement on many points. Other points remain to be discussed when Mr. Brezhnev comes to Egypt."
    Mr. Gromyko confirmed that Mr. Brezhnev will visit Egypt, Syria and Iraq soon. He was to have visited these countries a month ago, but the trip was called off. Although ill health was then given as the reason, it was generally believed that Mr. Brezhnev's tour had been cancelled because of deteriorating relations between Egypt and the Soviet Union.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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