AL-Mostakbal, one of two publications that featured an interview with former president Richard M. Nixon this weekend, was incorrectly characterized in Sunday's editions. Al-Mostakbal is a Paris-based, Lebanese-owned and -run magazine.
Former president Richard M. Nixon has urged that Arabs and Palestinians promptly work toward a Middle East peace agreement with Israel. He warned that if President Reagan does not run for reelection and is succeeded by a Democrat, "the chance for any fair proposal or any moderate proposal . . . is going to be out the window."
If Reagan does not run for a second term, "the odds will be that a Democrat will win," Nixon said in an interview published this weekend by Al-Mostakbal, a Paris-based Palestinian-run weekly, and Al-Anba, a Kuwaiti newspaper. A tape of the interview was made available to The Washington Post.
Nixon said that Reagan "is pro-Israel, but like me, he is not anti-Arab," and that Reagan "will be fair."
"I would say make your deal with him now," Nixon said. "I wouldn't wait for something later. Because in an election time we can be sure that the Democratic candidates will take an adamant pro-Israeli line."
Nixon said it is also in the Israelis' "best interest . . . to make a deal now rather than to wait until they have lost more and more in the wars that will inevitably come."
While Israel has won all of its wars with the Arabs , he said, "each time they lose more." He continued, "Over the long haul, particularly with continued Russian intervention in the Mideast, Israel's future is not that well assured."
Nixon also warned that, if Israel takes any steps toward annexation of the occupied West Bank, it "would risk eroding a substantial amount of the public support it has in the United States."
In the interview, held in New York on June 17, the former president urged that Reagan and Soviet President Yuri Andropov meet soon. Regular summit sessions can ease tensions in the Middle East, he said.
"When these two meet, it would be the most important Soviet-American meeting since our first meeting in 1972," Nixon said in a reference to his talks in Moscow with the late Soviet president Leonid Brezhnev.
If summit meetings are held regularly, he said, "I believe then that the Soviet Union would play a less aggressive, disruptive role in the Mideast."
Nixon accused the Soviets of disruption in the Middle East by, among other things, supporting Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, but he added that "detente requires that both sides--this means the U.S. as well as the Soviet Union--must desist in any conduct that threatens the interest of the other side."
He added: "I think it's only fair to say that the United States should not attempt, and will not attempt, to deny the Soviet Union a role there, but the role must be one that recognizes the right of every nation in the area to survive, including Israel."
He also urged that the United States not "write off Syria" in its Middle East diplomacy. "I don't think that Syrian President Hafez Assad likes the idea of being simply a Soviet satellite, and the United States should provide for him, if possible, a chance to have relations with us on a more constructive basis," he said.
Nixon also said that he supports "very strongly" Reagan's policy in Central America.
"President Reagan has said that we will not send in American forces," he said. "I understand that. But the Congress has limited the amount of money that we can send in to train government troops to put down, to handle, the Soviet-Cuban-Sandinista-supported insurrection. And whatever it costs it must be done. I'm referring now not to men; what I am referring to is training."
He said that the Soviet hand is "deep in the guerrilla movement in El Salvador . . . and not that well-hidden."