WASHINGTON (May. 24)
Israeli Ambassador Simcha Dinitz said today that the U.S. decision to sell advanced warplanes to Egypt and Saudi Arabia will affect both the military and political aspects of the Middle East peace process. Speaking to reporters at a luncheon of the Overseas Writers Press Club, the Israeli envoy noted that with the addition of Saudi Arabia to the ranks of the confrontation states, Israel will now have to face five Arab airforces instead of four.
“It is a military problem that will have to be dealt with by our two governments in a very careful way….How to minimize and rectify that which has been created” by the sale of advanced warplanes to Saudi Arabia, he said. Dinitz claimed that a second element of the aircraft package deal was to eliminate the premise that Israel is still strongest and that in case of war, its victory is assured. He said that was a simplification of the situation.
Referring to the stalled peace talks with Egypt, Dinitz confirmed that the Israeli Cabinet will be conferring on several points and noted that the Egyptians are also conferring with U.S. officials on several points related to the West Bank. Dinitz said he believed the best chance of resolving the outstanding issues between Israel and Egypt is through the process of direct negotiations. “You can’t make peace through a long distance operator,” he said.
Meanwhile, State Department officials said yesterday that Secretary of State Cyrus Vance will discuss the Middle East situation with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kaamel in New York late next week. Both officials will be there to attend the special United Nations session on disarmament.