JERUSALEM (Jul. 4)
A London meeting this month between Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kaamel, with Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, appeared to be a virtual certainty today. Highly placed government sources indicated that Dayan would go to London even though Israel has not yet given its formal assent to the meeting.
They explained that Israel’s official silence on the matter stemmed from Premier Menachem Begin’s unwillingness to commit himself formally to the meeting until he is satisfied that the Egyptian peace plan, submitted to Vice President Walter Mondale by President Anwar Sadat at their meeting in Alexandria yesterday, does not contain “preconditions.”
The sources here assume that there are, in fact, no preconditions in the Egyptian plan and expect the London meeting to take place on or about July 17. The meeting was one of the primary objectives of Mondale’s visits to Israel and Egypt over the weekend. It will mark the resumption of official Israeli-Egyptian contacts on the ministerial level for the first time since Sadat broke off peace talks in January.
PERES, SADAT TO MEET IN VIENNA
It was disclosed today, however, that Shimon Peres, leader of the opposition Labor Alignment, will meet with Sadat in Vienna, Austria this weekend. The occasion will be a conference of the Socialist International leadership to which both Peres and Sadat have been invited by Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky.
Peres called on Begin at his home here over the weekend and the Premier “did not object” to the meeting, sources close to Peres said today. The two men agreed to keep it secret, however, until Kreisky announced the meeting officially in Vienna last night. Peres and Sadat met for several hours in Salzburg last February.
It was understood here that Begin is not too pleased with the prospect of a second Peres-Sadat meeting, partly because his own feelers for a meeting with Sadat have been rebuffed and partly because the meeting in Vienna will be regarded by the world as the actual resumption of direct contacts between Israel and Egypt.
Peres is understood to have had his own doubts, mainly because he wanted to avoid the impression that he was challenging the prerogatives of the democratically elected government. But he decided in the end that it was his duty as a statesman to seize the opportunity to meet with the Egyptian leader, sources here said.
ROLE FOR BRITAIN HINTED
There has been no authoritative explanation here as to why London was selected as the venue for the meeting of the Israeli and Egyptian foreign ministers. The selection was made by the U.S., ostensibly for the convenience of Vance who will be returning from the Western economic summit meeting in Bonn next week. But there is speculation here that it is Vance’s purpose to involve British Prime Minister James Callaghan and Foreign Secretary Dr. David Owen in a concerted effort to persuade Israel and Egypt to resume the peace process.
President Carter has said that the London conference will be the occasion for a critical examination of both the Egyptian and Israeli peace proposals and for the presentation of American ideas. It is believed that Vance will solicit Callaghan’s support for American proposals. Since both Dayan and Kaamel will be paying courtesy calls on the British leader, he will have the opportunity to express his support for whatever ideas the Americans may put forth.
Yesterday, Dayan, addressing a meeting of the Zionist General Council here, said he would not go to London “if the Egyptians say that their pre-conditions for the negotiations is an a priori consent to the Egyptian peace plan. ” He added, however, “We are willing to discuss any Egyptian proposal, as tough as it may be.”He said Israel’s position was that “everything is open to negotiations “except those subjects not touched upon in Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, such as an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank.
U.S. COMMITMENT REAFFIRMED
Mondale ended his three-day visit to Israel yesterday with strong reaffirmations of America’s continued commitment to Israel. But he made it equally clear, at his pre-departure press conference and in his address at a dinner in his honor at the Knesset Sunday night, that significant differences exist between the U.S. and Israel and that they are grounded in the application of Resolution 242 to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
He referred to them as “differences between friends” and sought to balance their impact by pledging that American military and economic aid to Israel would “not be held hostage or as a form of pressure on Israel’s negotiating process.”He emphasized that he spoke in the name of President Carter when he offered these pledges.
Mondale’s references to Resolution 242 were described by a senior official in the American party as “an important U.S. policy statement.” The official made it plain that the Vice President’s statements had been prepared carefully by the State Department and the National Security Council and that Carter himself had read and approved the substantive passages.
Mondale said: “…242 is an equation. On the one hand it recognizes the right of every state in the area to live in peace within secure and recognized borders, free from threats or acts of force. The U.S. believes such a peace must include binding commitments to normal relations. In return, Israel would withdraw from territories occupied in the 1967 war.
“We believe the exact boundaries must be determined through negotiations. They are not determined by Resolution 242…We are convinced that without eventual withdrawal on all fronts to boundaries agreed upon in negotiations and safeguarded by effective security arrangements, there can be no lasting peace.”
APPLICABILITY OF PEACE APPROACH
Mondale observed that in the Sinai, “Israel has proposed a peace treaty in which there would be a negotiated withdrawal and security would be achieved while relinquishing claims to territory. This approach can be applied to the West Bank as well.” Asked about that last point, Mondale said he recognized that there are “obviously many differences” between the Sinai and the West Bank. He said his use of the word “approach” was the key to his remark.
“In other words, territory and security may not, in all circumstances, be identical, “he said.”It may be possible to relinquish land but at the same time have guarantees over demilitarization, over electronic sensors, limited forces zones, other kinds of arrangements that can give you security…” Mondale also noted that Israel accepted Resolution 242 as applying to the West Bank but “they have a different view of what qualifies within the meaning of that 242 than we do.”