JERUSALEM (Jul. 26)
Israeli and Egyptian working groups will meet in Alexandria for three days beginning Sunday for their first round of talks on various aspects of the autonomy plan for the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The decision to assign this stage of negotiations to senior officials rather than the ministerial level teams that inaugurated the autonomy talks was taken at the last meeting of the ministers in Alexandria. Details were worked out between Interior Minister Yosef Burg, chairman of the Israeli delegation, and Egyptian Prime Minister Mustapha Khalil, head of the Egyptian team.
The composition of the Israeli working group, appointed by the ministerial autonomy committee, was announced today, It consists of Ruth Lapidot, legal aide to the Foreign Ministry, Meir Gabbai, director general of the Justice Ministry, and Haim Kubersky, director general of the Interior Ministry. They may be assisted by Attorney General Yitzhak Zamir. The Egyptian working group will be headed by Ezzat Abdel-Latif, a senior diplomat who has been involved in the negotiations throughout the peace process.
The full ministerial teams of Israel and Egypt are scheduled to meet again in Haifa August 5-6 to review the progress of the working groups. Agriculture Minister Ariel Sharon, a member of the ministerial group, reportedly had pressed for the inclusion of ministers in the Israeli working group on grounds that the issues to be discussed involved policy. But the arrangements agreed to by Burg and Khalil were not changed.