JERUSALEM (Jul. 30)
Premier Menachem Begin and Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan briefed the Cabinet today on their talks with U.S. special envoy Alfred L. Atherton Thursday and Friday. Atherton is due back here tomorrow for further talks following his weekend of meetings with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kaamel in Cairo. Cabinet Secretary Arye Naor announced after today’s session that the Cabinet’s next regular meeting will be held on Monday, August 7 immediately following the visit here by U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance.
“If needed, new decisions may be taken next week,” Naor said but did not elaborate. He told reporters that it was hoped the “much talked about” new round of Israeli-Egyptian negotiations would indeed take place, probably at a locale in Sinai.
Atherton indicated before leaving for Cairo Friday that the U.S. expects the negotiations to be resumed in mid-August with Vance presiding. Other U.S. officials said the next round of talks might well be the occasion for the U.S. to present its own ideas aimed at bridging the gap between the Israeli and Egyptian positions that were clearly defined at the foreign ministers meeting at Leeds Castle, England.
They said the American proposals would focus on the five year transitional period for the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the future of those territories after the five-year interim. According to the officials, there were some points of agreement between Israel and Egypt on the transitional period but the parties remained deadlocked over the post-transition status.
EGYPT STANDS PAT ON BASIS FOR TALKS
(Kaamel told reporters in Cairo after meeting with Atherton that there were no changes in the Israeli and Egyptian positions and that any common elements between the two were coincidental and irrelevant. He said that the resumption of talks between Israel and Egypt would depend on what kind of proposals the U.S. presented. Atherton held several sessions with Kaamel Friday and Saturday and was scheduled to meet with President Anwar Sadat before returning to Jerusalem.
(He gave no hint to reporters that any progress was made toward bringing the two sides together for another round of talks. However, he stressed the U.S. view that “there is great importance in having a continuing process of negotiation to continue to try to arrive at areas of agreement. That is the purpose and that is what we’re looking forward to and that is what we are discussing,” he said.
(When he arrived in Cairo from Jerusalem, Atherton said he “just had very detailed and useful talks with Prime Minister Begin and his colleagues in Israel I think I will be in a position to convey a clearer understanding of the Israeli position to the leaders of Egypt.”)
Atherton met with Begin and Dayan for two hours Thursday. The meeting was attended by Deputy Premier Yigael Yadin. Dayan said later that the Israelis had listened closely to the American diplomat’s briefing on his talks last week in Saudi Arabia and Jordan. “We want the negotiations to continue and are ready for them to continue,” Dayan told reporters afterwards.