LONDON (May. 12)
Israeli Foreign Minister Yigal Allon indicated today that his country’s recent concern over perceived changes in the American approach to Middle East peace negotiations and the U.S.-Israel military supply relationship has been laid to rest. At a press conference here before returning to Israel. Allon said he had received firm assurances on these matters from Secretary of State Cyrus Vance at their luncheon meeting at the U.S. Embassy yesterday. He described the meeting as “most useful and friendly.”
Allon said the U.S. stood by its attitude toward the Palestine Liberation Organization. He said Vance agreed fully that the PLO “could not even be contacted” as long as it clings to its basic objective to destroy Israel. He also said that Vance had stressed that the U.S. would not impose a settlement in the Middle East and that the special relationship with Israel would continue with respect to military supplies.
Doubts were raised in that area when Israel learned last week that it was not on the top priority list of nations receiving American military equipment. These include the NATO countries and Japan. But Allon said, after his meeting with Vance, that U.S. military supplies to Israel “were enough to make the NATO countries envious.” He mentioned specifically that the U.S. will supply Israel with F-16 fighter aircraft “promised in writing long ago.” He added, “No pressure has been felt in Israel until now.”
WARNS AGAINST INDIVIDUAL PLANS
Reviewing his discussions with Vance, Allon told reporters that the U.S. stands by the position that a settlement of the Mideast conflict must be negotiated by the parties to it. If the
Allon warned that any country that wants to help settle the Middle East conflict should refrain from advancing a plan of its own. He maintained that the “ill-fated” Rogers Plan and the initiative by Gunnar Jarring, the former special United Nations envoy to the Middle East, were the main causes of the stalemate before the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
REFERENCES TO PALESTINIAN HOMELAND
Asked about President Carter’s references to the need for a “Palestinian homeland” during his meeting with Syrian President Hafez Assad in Geneva Monday. Allon recalled that in his speech in Clinton, Mass, last March. Carter had described the Palestinians as “refugees” and said that the question of their “homeland” should be addressed to the Arab countries. The President also excluded the PLO from negotiations by saying that these should take place between sovereign states.
Allon said that position was underlined by Vance yesterday who said a Palestinian “homeland” was a matter for negotiation between the parties. “We hope that it will be settled in the context of a peace agreement with our eastern neighbor” (Jordan), Allon said.
Allon agreed with the view stated by Carter that the Geneva conference should not be resumed without the most careful advance preparations because it would be better to postpone it than have it end in failure. He said he could not predict when the Geneva talks would be resumed. He recalled the armistice negotiations between Israel and Egypt after the Yom Kippur War as an example that important talks could take place elsewhere than Geneva.