LOS ANGELES (Oct. 21)
Declaring that “We have made a hell of a lot of progress” in the West Bank-Gaza Strip autonomy talks to date, U.S. special envoy Sol Linowitz said here yesterday that the Israeli and Egyptian negotiators have agreed on 80 percent of the powers to be vested in the autonomous authority. “We are now down to the hard core 20 percent where we have to find a basis for agreement,” he told a press conference.
Linowitz also said that in the event Republican Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan won the election Nov. 4, the autonomy talks would continue although not without some unavoidable delay. “It is hard to believe he (Reagan) would want to do anything to stop these talks going forward,” Linowitz said.
With respect to the projected summit meeting between President Anwar Sadat, Premier Menachem Begin and President Carter, the American envoy said, “If President Carter is reelected I think he will try to have a summit meeting as soon as he is assured it will be productive. This might still be before the end of this year but my guess is it might spill over into January. If Mr. Reagan is elected, I would assume he would want to participate. That would mean it would go over to next year.”
Asked to define the hard core issues still outstanding, Linawitz said they concerned Israel’s security interests; the equitable sharing of water resources; the use of public lands, including future settlements in the territories; the nature of the powers to be exercised by the autonomous authority, and whether the Arabs of East Jerusalem should be allowed to participate in the election of the autonomous authority.