PARIS (Nov. 25)
Western European nations reportedly will postpone a new Middle East diplomatic initiative until after President-elect Reagan’s inauguration Jan. 20. The heads of governments comprising the nine-member European Economic Community (EEC), who are due to meet in Luxembourg Dec. 1-2 to consider the Mideast, have reportedly reached a new consensus.
According to diplomatic sources in Brussels, President Valery Giscard d’Estaing of France is the only participant still pressing for joint European action in the Mideast by early next year. The EEC Foreign Ministers, who conferred yesterday in Luxembourg in preparation for the summit meeting next month, reportedly decided to recommend the postponement of any European initiative for the time being.
CONTINUED EXPLORATORY TALKS RECOMMENDED
The ministers, who studied the report prepared by their outgoing chairman, Foreign Minister Gaston Thorn of Luxembourg, also recommended that the new chairman, Foreign Minister Chrisoph van der Laauw of Holland, should continue exploratory talks with Israel, the Arab countries and the Palestine Liberation Organization, and report back some time next year.
EEC sources said that although the summit conference will also study developments in East Europe, Afghanistan and East-West relations, the main item on its agenda will be the Mideast and the followup to last summer’s EEC Venice declaration which called for the PLO’s inclusion in the Mideast peace process.
Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir of Israel is due to meet with Foreign Minister Jean-Francos Poncet of France Nov. 30. Shamir is going to Paris to address United Jewish Appeal meetings and to strengthen the ties between Israel and France’s 700,000 Jews. He will nonetheless meet Poncet at the Quai d’Orsay. Israeli sources here said that Shamir will ask France to drop plans for a European initiative and to coordinate any further West European actions with the United States.