PARIS (Dec. 3)
Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir of Israel made clear his country’s continued opposition to any peace initiative in the Middle East undertaken by the European Economic Community (EEC). He told reporters at a press conference here today that Israel did not and could not accept the Common Market countries’ stand on self-determination for the Palestinians or a change in the status of Jerusalem.
Shamir, on a five-day private visit on the invitation of the French United Jewish Appeal, spoke in the aftermath of the EEC’s summit meeting in Luxembourg Monday and yesterday at which the nine member states decided to renew contacts with the Middle East states in search of a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The meeting did not produce anything similar to the EEC’s Venice declaration of last June which stressed that the Palestine Liberation Organization must be associated with the Middle East peace process.
But the decision to continue the initiative implied that the Venice declaration remains its basis. Shamir warned that EEC statements such as the Venice declaration and the communique issued in Luxembourg “risk encouraging (Arab) extremists and increasing regional tensions.”
He said Israel cannot accept West European proposals for its withdrawal to its 1967 borders nor can it entrust its security to foreign guarantees. The EEC initiative will be pursued under the direction of The Netherlands Foreign Minister, Christoph von der Laouw, who succeeds Luxembourg Foreign Minister Gaston Thorn as chairman of the EEC Council of Ministers.
Shamir stressed that Israel wants to maintain a dialogue with all EEC member states. “We want to increase our meetings, explain our positions and try to reduce divergencies. We want to develop good relations with all EEC member states in spite of differences on political stands,” he said.
HECTIC SCHEDULE OF MEETINGS
Shamir is scheduled to meet with President Valery Giscard d’Estaing tomorrow. Giscard reportedly played an important role in the Luxembourg decision to continue the EEC’s Middle East initiative which many diplomatic observers believed had faded as a result of the American Presidential elections and the Iraqi-Iranian war. Shamir met earlier in his visit with French Foreign Minister Jean Francois Poncet.
Today, he met France’s outgoing Chief Rabbi, Jacob Kaplan and his successor, Rene Sirat, who will assume the office of Chief Rabbi on Jan. 1. He also conferred with members of the Representative Council of Major Jewish Organizations in France (CRIF) and addressed various Jewish and Zionist groups. He is due to meet tomorrow with Egypt’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Butros Ghali, who is in Paris.