VIENNA (Jul. 10)
Chancellor Bruno Kreisky of Austria today released a four-point program for a Middle East peace settlement that opens with a call to Egypt and Israel to resume their suspended negotiations and continue them in direct contact until a peace treaty is concluded and signed. The document was drafted by Kreisky and former West German Chancellor Willy Brandt, head of the Socialist International which is holding a conference here.
The document elicited favorable comment from Shimon Peres, leader of Israel’s opposition Labor Alignment who conferred here with President Anwar Sadat of Egypt for five hours yesterday. Peres and Sadat were shown advance copies of the text. Peres was quoted as saying that the Kreisky-Brandt proposals represent, in a way, a closer understanding of Israel’s position than ever before reached by the Socialist International, and for Kreisky himself, a veritable reversal of his former position. (See P. 2 for full text.)
FOLLOWS ASWAN FORMULA LANGUAGE
The key Palestinian clause of the document which speaks of the right of the Palestinians to participate in the determination of their future, follows almost precisely the language used by President Carter in the Middle East peace formula he proposed at his meeting with Sadat at Aswan last Jan. 4. Kreisky, for years, had been a leading European advocate of Palestinian self-determination–a purported code word for a Palestinian state–which was conspicuously absent from the document released today. The Israeli government, however, has also rejected Carter’s Aswan formula.
Peres was quoted as saying that the absence of any reference to a Palestinian state or the PLO was favorable. He described the document as a whole as “very realistic” and “containing many positive elements.” Peres said he wanted to study the document in greater detail and would then submit it to the Labor Party for consideration. The opposition leader discounted critical remarks by some members of Premier Menachem Begin’s government about his meeting here with Sadat. “I think that my main consideration is the peaceful negotiation and it is not in any way a struggle for power, “he said.”I wish very much that the present government of Israel will conclude the negotiations successfully,” he added.
Kreisky expressed the hope that the Israel Labor Party, as a member of the Socialist International, would accept the document “and if there is some sort of consent by the Arab side, then it could be helpful to draw up a declaration of principles and continue the peace process.”
There was no immediate response by Sadat. But Egyptian sources here were quoted as saying he was pleased. Even a tacit endorsement by Egypt would represent a significant softening of Cairo’s position compared to the six-point peace program Egypt submitted two weeks ago which has been rejected by Israel but will be on the agenda of the Israeli and Egyptian foreign ministers’ meeting in London next week.
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether the Kreisky-Brand formulation will be accepted by the Socialist International. The Scandinavian members, long-time proponents of Palestinian statehood, may raise objections. But Kreisky and Brandt between them carry considerable weight in the decision-making process. If the document is adopted, its influence will go beyond the Socialist movement and perhaps affect the politics of the European Economic Community (EEC) member states. It is regarded as far more favorable toward Israel than the official EEC position on the Middle East.