JERUSALEM (Mar. 31)
French Foreign Minister Louis de Guiringaud, who was conducting a round of talks with Israeli leaders here today, said that relations between Paris and Jerusalem had become “normal.” De Guiringaud extended an invitation to Premier Yitzhak Rabin from French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing to visit France, hopefully before the French national holiday on July 14. Rabin accepted the invitation but no date was set.
Defense Minister Shimon Peres, after meeting with the French diplomat, said de Guiringaud told him France did not want to be a mediator in the Middle East, but like the rest of Europe was deeply interested in developments in the region. Peres said France has gotten over its enthusiasm for the Arab world which has bordered on support for the Palestine Liberation Organization and was now taking a more “guarded approach” to the Mideast.
GISCARD PRAISES ISRAEL
In a letter to President Ephraim Katzir, delivered today by de Guiringaud, Giscard expressed “both admiration and hope” to the people of Israel. “France knows all that Israel symbolizes in world history and culture, she knows of the courage which Israel’s people demonstrated in times of trial and of their efforts invested in securing their future. My own people is full of hope that Israel will be able to flourish, together with the other peoples of the area, in security and peace.”
Continuing, Giscard stated, “Circumstances did not facilitate a meeting between us at the beginning of last year.” This was an apparent reference to the incident when Katzir cancelled an intended stopover in Paris because the French President refused to receive him at the Elysee.
“I want to take this opportunity to inform you that I would take pleasure in receiving you at the Elysee Palace if, in the course of your travels, you should again pass through Paris.” The French leader referred to differences of outlook on the Mideast question between his government and Israel, and said that these differences made de Guiringaud’s current visit all the more important.