WASHINGTON (Oct. 9)
Israel and Egypt, supported by the United States, appeared ready today to begin their talks leading to a bilateral peace treaty despite serious complications left unresolved when the Camp David accords were signed three weeks ago.
An indication of the delicacy of the negotiations to take place, beginning Thursday, was President Carter’s invitation to Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan to meet with him at the White House at 4:30 tomorrow afternoon, shortly before the start of the Yom Kippur holiday. Dayan is due here from New York at noon tomorrow. He addressed the United Nations General Assembly today. (See separate story.)
Dayan and Israel’s Defense Minister, Ezer Weizman, will head the Israeli delegation. The ceremonial opening will be presided over by Carter at the White House at II o’clock Thursday morning and the talks will then shift to Blair House, the Presidential guest hostelry across Pennsylvania Avenue. The two eight-member delegations will be housed at the Madison Hotel, less than a mile from the White House.
Secretary of State Cyrus Vance will head the American group, though Presidential Press Secretary Jody Powell has indicated that Vance may not be present “every day.” The Egyptian delegation will be headed by Acting Foreign Minister Boutros Ghali and Defense Minister Kamal Hassan Ali who was named to the Egyptian Cabinet only last week. Estimates of the length of the peace conference, in its first stages at least, range from 2-4 weeks.
FACTORS OVERSHADOWING THE TALKS
Among the factors overshadowing the peace talks are the warfare between Syrians and Christians in Lebanon, suspended for the time being by a cease-fire that went into effect over the weekend. Also unresolved are the differences between Carter and Premier Menachem Begin over the duration of the freeze on Israeli settlements on the West Bank.
Statements by top Egyptian officials here and in Cairo seemed to link a peace treaty with the establishment of a “Palestinian nation” on the West Bank, something Israel says it will never accept. But despite these serious gaps, optimism appeared high today that Israel and Egypt will conclude a peace treaty.
HUSSEIN DUE TO COME TO WASHINGTON
Vice President Walter Mondale has indicated, in the latest high level American expression on the Middle East political process, that an Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty and a “framework” for the West Bank are separate matters. Appearing on the ABC television program “Issues and Answers” yesterday, Mondale also said that he anticipates that King Hussein of Jordan would “at some point” come to Washington, but “there is no present date” for a meeting with Carter with whom Hussein has been having “personal conversations.”
He said the Jordanian ruler “has been analyzing the proposals” of Camp David but “there has been no decision on his part.” The State Department, he said, is analyzing the questions put to the U.S. by Hussein.
Replying to a reporter’s question, Mondale indicated he did not anticipate bringing the Soviet Union into the Mideast peace talks at this time although “there is always the theoretical long term prospect” of that.
Dayan, who was interviewed on the CBS “Face The Nation” television program yesterday, explained Israel’s view of the West Bank and Gaza Strip issues within the Camp David frameworks. He said there was to be no Israeli military withdrawal from those territories, that the settlements would stay.
“The question of sovereignty, not only in Jerusalem but over the entire West Bank and Gaza will come only when we shall discuss the peace treaty and that will happen after five years” of self-rule, Dayan said. He stressed that Jordan would be the only party with which Israel will negotiate a treaty in those areas. (See separate story P. 3)