JERUSALEM (Feb. 19)
Government sources said here today that the new conditions demanded by Egypt for renewal of the Geneva Mideast peace conference indicated that Egypt, like Israel, believes that such a meeting now would be premature. The conditions, stated yesterday by Ismail Fahmy, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, in Cairo were that Egyptian attendance would be contingent on replacement of all weapons lost in the October war and agreement that the Palestine Liberation Organization was invited to participate. Israeli officials have said repeatedly Israel would not meet with the PLO.
Fahmy said in his statement that the Soviet Union had resumed shipments of weapons to Egypt and the Israeli sources said the arms condition might be a pressure tactic on the Soviets for a speed-up in supply of weapons. The assumption was, according to the speculation here, that the Soviet Union would step up the pace of arms deliveries because it has consistently sought to transfer negotiations to the Geneva conference where it is a co-sponsor.
The sources here suggested another possible reason for the Fahmy conditions was that Egypt wanted to explain to the more militant Arab states, particularly Syria, why Egypt for the time being prefers to go along with Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger’s step-by-step approach. Although President Anwar Sadat has said repeatedly it would not end its state of war with Israel unilaterally, Syria remains suspicious of Kissinger’s efforts to mediate between Egypt and Israel and recently urged that the Geneva conference be reconvened early in March.