Khalil Arrival Uncertain

Egyptian Prime Minister Mustapha Khalil may not come to Israel tomorrow as head of his country’s autonomy negotiating team if he is not assured that Premier Menachem Begin will see him. Asof this after noon it was not yet clear whether Begin would do that. The next session of the autonomy talks will be held in Herzya tomorrow and Tuesday.

One of the Premier’s spokesmen said lost week that Begin would call on Khalil but another spokesman said over the weekend, ” the possibility of a meeting is still being studied.” Begin is scheduled to go on a two -day tour of the Galilee tomorrow and Tuesday. Hopefully, he will be able to see Khalil Tuesday on his return from Galilee, Shlomo Nakdimon, the Premier’s spokesman said He noted however, that the ” Premier’s schedule is very tight… Every minute is accounted for. He made many promises to settlements and kibbutzim up there weeks ago.”

There is a history of personal-ill-feeling and sensitivity between the two men. It began when Begin refused to meet with Khalil and President Carter at Camp David last February, insisting that President Anwar Sadat himself attend the summit. The summit did not take place and was followed by Carter’s visit to the Middle East and eventually to the signing of the peace agreement.

But Khalil stayed away with a “diplomatic illness” when Begin visited Cairo last April and Khalil declined to attend the opening session of the autonomy talks at Beersheba on May 25 arguing that the Israel chairman, Dr. Yosef Burg, held a lower rank than himself and therefore ought not to be chairman of the session.

NEXT STORY