JERUSALEM (May. 22)
Premier Menachem Begin has written to President Anwar Sodat of Egypt saying that Israel awaits a resumption of the suspended autonomy negotiations. Replying to a letter from Sodat delivered last Sunday, the Israeli leader recalled that Egypt had been the one that had (twice) suspended the talks–and it was now up to Egypt to initiate their resumption.
Aides here said Begin’s missive was couched in polite tones. The Premier wrote that the precise arrangements for a resumption would have to be made in tripartite consultations.
In Jerusalem, meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador Samuel Lewis held separate meetings today with Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir and the chief autonomy negotiator, Interior Minister Yosef Burg–but had apparently little news for them on prospects of a resumption. Burg told reporters after his meeting with the envoy that Israel was now awaiting the results of Egypt’s Vice President Hosni Mubarak’s talks in Washington.
Begin, in his letter, replied to Sodat’s contention that the recent Knesset vote on Jerusalem and the West Bank settlements were souring the atmosphere around the negotiations. On Jerusalem, he said the bill that had been referred to committee by a near-unanimous vote of the House was not new. At Camp David he (Begin) had spelled out on identical position on Jerusalem, and he had repeated it to Sodat at subsequent meetings.
The settlements, Begin wrote, were an integral part of Israel’s national security. As to souring the atmosphere, Begin said current diatribes in the Cairo press against him and Israel were certainly no help to the atmosphere.