WASHINGTON (Oct. 22)
U.S. government spokesmen refused today to comment on the impact of the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision declaring a settlement on seized Arab lands illegal or on Moshe Dayan’s resignation yesterday as Israel’s Foreign Minister.
The State Department’s chief spokesman, Hadding Carter, said “I have noted the (Supreme Court) decision and I will have no comment. ” When pressed by reporters who pointed out that he has frequently commented when new settlements on the West Bank were in question, Carter observed that “It is not a productive thing for me to comment on a court decision within another country’s borders. ” He also characterized Dayan’s resignation as an “internal affair of Israel, ” but quoted Secretary of State Cyrus Vance’s statement yesterday in which he expressed high praise of Dayan on a personal level.
Carter said he would not “speculate on the possible effects” on the Camp David accords of Dayan’s resignation. He pointed out that Vance, (Egyptian Prime Minister Mustapha Khalil and Israel’s Interior Minister Yosef Burg will meet in London Thursday and Friday “to go over informally the status of the problems facing the negotiations” over autonomy on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In another development, the State Department spokesman announced that the U.S. is seeking the assistance of the Vatican and the French government in finding a solution to the problems in Lebanon. Carter announced that former Undersecretary of State Philip Habib left today for Beirut on the first leg of a nine-day “fact-finding mission” that will also take him to Jordan, Syria and Israel in that order.
Carter said Habib would spend a day or two in each country and “he may stop at the Vatican and Paris” to solicit the views of governments and other leaders in Europe and the Middle East before returning to Washington on Nov. I . Carter refused to identify the individuals Habib will meet on his trip but said “these conversations will be with leaders with influence on the situation.”
Asked if Habib will try to obtain the views of Palestinian Arabs, Carter said “He will not meet with the PLO leaders or discuss any ways to open talks with them.”