WASHINGTON (Dec. 4)
The United States continued its attempts today to bring about a resumption of Egyptian-Israeli peace negotiations, stalled by at least three demands by Egypt outside of the Camp David frameworks and the American treaty draft already accepted by Israel.
In a long series of meetings over the past four days with Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Khalil, U.S. officials apparently urged Khalil that negotiations could not be resumed if Egypt did not alter its positions dealing with autonomy, Egyptian treaty commitments and the agreement on the future of the Sinai. Vice President Walter Mondale took an active role in the meetings with Khalil, indicating the importance President Carter attaches to the U.S. effort to have negotiations resumed as soon as possible.
It appeared, however, that with Secretary of State Cyrus Vance going to Europe for a four-day NATO conference this week and Israel apparently refusing to accept alterations in the peace treaty draft, the Blair House conference will continue in a state of suspension until next week.
Khalil and Vance met at the Madison Hotel again this afternoon, just before Khalil’s delayed departure for Bucharest, on the first of his visits to five European capitals this week before returning to Cairo. After Bucharest, Khalil will be in Belgrade, Vienna, London and Paris, Egyptian sources said. It is understood that his visits are to obtain support of those five governments for the Sadat viewpoint, regardless of the U.S. attitude.
U.S. TO CONSULT WITH ISRAEL, EGYPT
The American attitude, expressed today by State Department spokesman Hodding Carter, is that the U.S. will consult with both Egypt and Israel to get the negotiations going again. Carter would not indicate when the talks might be resumed or even where, but he ruled out, at least for the time being, that either Vance or Mondale would go to the Middle East in the near future.
Mondale, it was noted, is taking an increasingly important role in the negotiations. He is being described, possibly by inspired reports, as presenting points of view against positions within the Carter Administration that he feels would inflame Israeli opinion, and that he has received, at least on one occasion, the President’s support. His participation in meetings with Khalil at the State Department was also considered a rarity for a Vice President.
Whether the U.S. will consider reopening the treaty draft that it presented to Egypt and Israel in late October and which was accepted totally by Israel, was brought up to spokesman Carter today, but he refused to comment. “The question before us is to conclude a treaty,” he said. He said he would not “prejudge” what may come up “before the parties.”
Meanwhile, Vance met today at the State Department with former Israeli Defense Minister Shimon Peres and Israeli Ambassador Simcha Dinitz. The meeting with Peres, Carter said, was “normal procedure” and “not unusual.” He said that they “obviously” discussed the “joint interest in the entire peace process,” but that Peres who is chairman of the Labor Party, was not talking for the Israeli government. Dinitz, who is leaving his post as Ambassador on Dec. 15, was feted at a lunch as a parting gesture from State Department officials, with whom he has been in close communication for almost six years.