JERUSALEM (Oct. 17)
The heads of the three delegations conducting the talks on Palestinian autonomy, Egyptian Premier Mustapha Khalil, Israel Interior Minister Yosef Burg and the American special envoy to the Middle East Robert Strauss will meet in London next week to review the six-month-old talks. (See related story from London.)
According to reports, Strauss called for the meeting. The Americans are said to be unhappy with the rate of progress on the talks. They reportedly felt that a meeting of the three men in charge of the talks was preferable to a meeting of the entire delegations. It is felt that a limited forum would allow for a more efficient airing of the problems which now hinder the acceleration of the talks. In his speech in Haifa last month, President Anwar Sadat of Egypt promised progress by the end of the year. With two-and-a-half more months to go, no substantial progress has been made.
The Egyptians reportedly are exerting heavy pressure on the Americans to speed up the talks. Officials at the Egyptian Foreign Ministry have accused Israel on various occasions of purposely causing the slowdown in the autonomy talks. However, sources in Jerusalem said today that contrary to reports from Alexandria where the talks have been held, there is no deadlock on the technical aspects of the talks.
The object of those talks is to lay the groundwork for such matters as the procedures for holding the autonomy elections and seeking to define the powers of the administrative council that would be set up as a result of the elections. Another aspect discussed in Alexandria is that of determining who would have the right to vote in the elections. But one of the major remaining disagreements involves the status of Jerusalem.