NEW YORK (Sep. 17)
Israeli Defense Minister Shimon Peres said here last night that the only movement in the Mideast for the next six months will be the implementation of the new interim accord between Israel and Egypt, and indicated that no negotiations with Syria are in the offing. Addressing a press conference at the Regency Hotel, Peres, who arrived last night from Israel, said that Israel will not ask Washington “for anything that has nuclear potential and capability.” He also reiterated that Israel does not have the A-bomb and that Israel “will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons in the Mideast.”
Asked by journalists about reports that Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger has promised to supply Israel with Pershing ground-to-ground missiles, Peres said: “I would not like to go into a discussion of any of the arms we are going to ask for. Ground-to-ground missiles are already in the Mideast.” Peres said that the Soviets have supplied Egypt with the “Scud” and “Frog” missiles. He added that Israel will be getting the “Lance” missile from the U.S., which is equivalent to the “Frog.”
Peres said he will meet today with Kissinger in Washington and tomorrow with Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger to discuss Israeli military needs. The Defense Minister added that after the high level consultations, detailed negotiations will take place between American and Israeli military officials.
Peres emphasized yesterday that the proposed U.S. assistance to Israel is not all an out-right grant, that part of it is a loan. He said that the U.S. assistance is “an investment in peace, and in spite of the high price it is the cheapest investment.” He also observed that because of the high cost of modern technology Israelis getting from the U.S. a “moderate quantity of arms.”
LIBYA, THE MOST DANGEROUS COUNTRY
The Defense Minister said that Libya “is the most dangerous country” today, with Syria, Iraq, and the “extremist Palestinians” next on the list. He did not, however, mention Egypt as being among the “most dangerous” to Israel. Peres termed as “dangerous” Jordan’s intentions to build its arsenal by asking for “Hawk” missiles from the U.S. “I want to reassure Jordan that we do not have any war intentions toward her,” Peres said, claiming that relations between Jordan and Israel are “traditionally calm.”
On the new interim agreement with Egypt, Peres said: “I do believe that this is a good deal for peace, for a new opening.” He said the negotiations in Geneva have been, so far, going “quite well.” Peres is scheduled to stay in the U.S. for eight days. Meanwhile, Israeli Minister of Commerce, Chaim Barlev is scheduled to arrive here tomorrow. A reception will be held for him tomorrow afternoon at the New York Hilton.