JERUSALEM (Feb. 19)
Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan and his aides left for the U.S. today for a new round of talks with Egyptian Prime. Minister Mustapha Khalil and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance beginning Wednesday at Camp. David The objective is to remove the obstacles blocking the way to an Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty.
Dayan replied affirmatively when asked by reporters at Ben Gurion Airport if there was any point to the second Camp David meeting inasmuch as the Egyptians have announced they will not retreat from their previous positions.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry stated yesterday that Khalil will not bring any new concessions to his talks with Dayan and Vance. Dayan observed before his departure that the meeting was initiated by the U.S. “and apparently they have some proposals that may be acceptable to both sides. It is all in the hands of the Americans, “Dayan said. He added, however, that the U.S. has not sent any fixed agenda for the talks, probably because Vance was accompanying President Carter on his visit to Mexico last week.
Dayan is expected back in Israel next Sunday to report to the Cabinet on the results of the first stage of the Camp David discussions. In a televised interview over the weekend, he stated that a summit conference would be necessary even if the ministerial level talks at Camp David are “a staggering success.” He said he would regard them as “a great success” for Israel if they produced a situation in which all three parties–Israel, Egypt and the U.S.: — “could assume that they would be able to clinch the treaty at a subsequent summit” conference.
Dayan also explained that his remarks last week about the Palestine Liberation Organization’s importance in the peace-making process had no “operative” meaning inasmuch as he was not proposing that Israel sit down and negotiate with the PI O. He said the intent of his statement was to influence Israelis to take cognizance of objective realities.
The Foreign Minister said he did not see his role in the new talks as that of a “mailman” merely to “read out Israel’s position, listen to the Egyptian and American positions, note them down and go back to Jerusalem to report. ” He said his role, as he saw it, would be to “probe… to out forward test ideas, test theses, in order to determine where, in our estimation, understanding or agreement could be reached despite the differences of opinion.”
He noted that after ” a few days, ” the Israeli delegation would return to Jerusalem to report what transpired and to give its assessment of what might be the fall-back positions or flexibility of the Egyptians so that “we (in the Cabinet) can sax to ourselves what are in effect the conditions upon which, in our assessment, it would be possible, through further, perhaps protracted, negotiations, to base an agreement.”
FIVE ISSUES ON THE AGENDA
He said he had no information whatsoever on what proposals the U.S. might offer at Camp David to bridge the gaps between Israel and Egypt. He disclosed that the issues on the agenda would include five unresolved treaty issues: the “review clause” (Article IV); the “priority of obligations clause” (Article VI, paragraph 5); the “linkage” clause (Article VI, paragraph 2) and the “target date” letter dealing with the establishment of autonomy on the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the exchange of ambassadors between Israel and Egypt. The Egyptians have insisted that autonomy must be implemented, at least in Gaza, before envoys can be exchanged.
Regarding the event in Iran; Dayan said he thought the revolution there would make Saudi Arabia and Jordan even more reluctant to support Egypt in the peace process. He believed the effect on the U.S. has been to inject a sense of urgency into Washington’s attitude toward the peace talks with Egypt and that the U.S. was anxious to conclude a treaty to stabilize its own position in the region. According to Dayan, the Americans felt that time was working against a treaty and this could mean new American pressure on Israel for concessions to speed the process.