The Carter Administration's talks with Prince Saud, the Saudi Srabian foreign minister, produced "definitely positive" results for [Word Illegible] the Geneva conference on the Middle East Senior U.S. officials said yesterday.
But they declined to provide details on Saudi's talks this week with President Carter and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance.
The Carter Administration has been counting heavily on oil-rich Saudi Arabia, which provides major financial support to poorer Arab nations to use its influence to help nudge the Palestine Liberation Organization and Syria to Geneva.
Judging by Saud's public remarks, the talks appear to have had little impact on Saudi Arabia's insistence on PLO representation at Geneva, which is perhaps the greatest obstacle to the administration's current effort to convene a peace conference by the end of the year. Israel has rejected any official PLO role at Geneva.
Moreover, the Saudis appear to have doubts about the thrust of the U.S Middle East effort, which appears to emphasize procedural matters while avoiding substantive differences.
Speaking to a luncheon audience, Saud asserted earlier this week that the PLO is "undeniable the legitiamte representative of the Palestinian people."
"To settle on mechanical arrangements but not prudently assure a successful outcome," he told a luncheon audience here, "is to jeopardize both the Mideast and far broader interests in which we all have a vast stake."
His temperate and cautious remarks in Washington however, were in sharp contrast to an interview published in Beirut yesterday in which Saud was quoted as saying that Saudi Arabia would throw the full weight of its vast oil and financial resources behind the Arabs in the event of another Middle East war.
"Not only will Saudi Arabia sacrifice its oil and financial resources, but also the blood of its sons," Saud reportedly told the newspaper An Anhar. "Of course we will use these resources to repel the aggression."
American officials said Saud displayed a "constructive," moderate attitude in his talks with the Carter Administration. One source said the talks produced "a great identity of views" on most matters under discussion.
In his speech at the National Press Club, Saud blamed Israeli "intransigence" for the present impasse in the Middle East. He said that the Arabs "firm pursuit of a peaceful settlement" provides a "unique opportunity" for peace and that Israel's policies could "create conditions of havoc leading to a general breakdown and war."
Saud also reaffirmed the Arab position that the ultimate objective of Geneva talks is the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. Israel is adamantly opposed to any such state.
Meanwhile, the official newspaper of Syris's ruling Baath Party said yesterday that "syria is now taking the line of direct military confrontation" with Israel.
The paper said the dangers of "the military option are considerably less than the dangers of submitting to ambiguous settlements that bestow legitimacy on Zionist occupation" of Arab lands.
News agencies reported the following other Middle East developments:
In Lebanon, at least 15 persons were killed in a new upsurge of violence between Lebanese Moslems and Christians, according to diplomatic sources. Most of the deaths were the result of isolated shootings and kidnappings.
In Israel military sources said that Jewish settlers will move into two more army camps on the occupied West Bank of the Jordan next week. The settlements at Givon and Nibe Salah will bring to five the number of military camps opened to members of the Gush Emunium movement.
The military framework was thought to be designed to deflect U.S. objections to the establishment of settlements on occupied territory.
Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. David Ivri, 43, was named the commander of the Israeli air force, replacing Gen. Benyamin Peled, who retiries today after 30 years in the service.
In Abu Dhabi, the accused assassin of the United Arab Emirates foreign minister has been identified as a 19-year-old Palestinian, Saleh Mohammed Khaled. He was reportedly immediately apprehended after killing the minister, Saif Ibn Ghobash.