Linowitz, Burg to Cairo to Discuss Autonomy Issues with Egyptians

Sol Linowitz, President Carter’s Special Ambassador to the Middle East, will go to Cairo tomorrow with Interior Minister Yosef Burg to discuss the status of the autonomy talks with Egyptian officials. Linowitz and Burg, who heads the Israeli negotiating team, will meet with Prime Minister Mustapha Khalil; head of the Egyptian delegation.

Linowitz met with Premier Menachem Begin for two hours last night. He told reporters afterwards that he was “immensely heartened by what he (Begin) said and I am absolutely convinced we can go forward together toward our mutual objective in a spirit of trust and understanding.”

Begin characterized his talk with the American envoy as one of the most interesting he has had in years. Linowitz conveyed a message to Begin from President Carter which, he told reporters, expressed “the great admiration and high regard” with which Israel’s Premier is held by the President, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and other Administration officials.

The meeting in Cairo tomorrow will be held at the request of Khalil who had earlier asked for a postponement of the next plenary session of the autonomy talks. They were supposed to have begun today in Herzliya but it now appears they will be held there next week, probably on December 17. Linowitz has indicated that he wants to lose no time in continuing the negotiations which have been restricted almost entirely to procedural matters up to now and have made virtually no progress on substance.

TERMS MEETING AN OPPORTUNITY

Linowitz appeared before the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee yesterday where he expressed hope that some specific proposals would be raised when he, Burg and Khalil meet in Cairo. “It is obviously an opportunity for us to try to come to an understanding on how we can move in connection with the autonomy discussions,” he told reporters later.

At the session, committee chairman Moshe Arens voiced Israel’s concern over possible American arms sales to Egypt. Afterwards, Arens told reporters that he was encouraged to have learned from Linowitz that no decision has been taken yet with respect to a U.S.-Egyptian arms deal. Linowitz told the MKs that there was no reason for their concern. Arens said he was confident that the envoy will return to Washington and report Israel’s concern on that matter to the President.

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