Eec-arab Dialogue Begins in Tunis

Richard Faber, Assistant Undersecretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, will lead the European team at the European Economic Community (EEC)-Arab dialogue committee meeting which opens tomorrow in Tunis. As reported last week, the EEC will not welcome Arab calls that it should speak out on the need for convening the Geneva conference and for a Palestinian presence there.

It will try to emphasize the commercial and cooperation aspects of Euro-Arab relations. If a political statement proves unavoidable, the European diplomats will be guided by the November, 1973, Luxembourg Declaration of the EEC and by last year’s UN General Assembly statement by the Dutch UN delegation. (See Feb. 2 issue of the Bulletin.)

Meanwhile, more light has been cast on last week’s London meeting of EEC Foreign Ministers and their decision to refrain from a public declaration calling for Palestinian participation at a reconvened Geneva conference.

A draft declaration along these lines had previously been worked out at two levels among the nine EEC Foreign Ministries, first by heads of Middle East sections and then by political Directors-General. When the Foreign Ministers assembled in London under the chairmanship of the British Foreign Secretary, Anthony Crosland; the French minister supported such a declaration.

But, contrary to some reports, the French minister was not supported by his West German colleague and he eventually acceded to the British argument that it was wrong for the EEC to launch its own initiative prior to the Middle East tour by U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance.

NEXT STORY