Tel Aviv (Jan. 4)
— Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger suggested here today that President-elect Reagan should meet separately with Premier Menachem Begin and President Anwar Sadat after he takes office, to be followed possibly by a tripartite summit meeting. He said he was pleased with the progress of Israeli-Egyptian negotiations to date but thought the meetings he outlined would help advance the movement toward an agreement.
Kissinger arrived here last night after several days in Egypt and an unscheduled side trip to Somalia. He insisted that his current trip to the Middle East is private and unofficial.
“I am here as a private citizen, but I will certainly talk to President-elect Reagan and with Secretary of State-designate (Alexander) Haig about my impressions of this visit,” he said. Kissinger is travelling with his wife, Nancy, and with William Paley, president of the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) whose private plane they are using.
NOT SEEKING TO REPLACE LINOWITZ
The former Secretary of State scotched speculation that he might replace Sol Linowitz as the special Presidential envoy to the Middle East after Reagan is inaugurated Jan. 20. He said he was not looking for a job in the new Administration and did not want to become involved in day-to-day negotiations. “But I have said I would be ready to undertake special missions at critical periods, if such will occur in the Middle East, which is difficult to predict at this moment,” he said.
Last month, Richard Allen, Reagan’s appointee to head the National Security Council, said that Kissinger would serve as a special advisor to the President on foreign policy matters and that his duties might include missions abroad. Kissinger’s present trip is said to have been undertaken with Reagan’s approval.
MIGHT SUGGEST U.S. PRESENCE
He is scheduled to meet with Begin this evening and will dine later at the home of Israel’s former Ambassador to the U.S. Simcha Dinitz. This morning, the American diplomat met with senior army officers and flew to the Etzion air base in Sinai which Israel will turn over to Egypt next year. Observers suggested that he visited the air base in order to formulate proposals to Reagan for eventual American use of the facility, said to be one of the most sophisticated in the world and certainly in the region.
Israel is known to favor such a strong American presence just across its border but Sadat has refused to entertain such suggestions, at least until after the entire Sinai is returned to Egypt. Speaking of the Israeli-Egyptian autonomy negotiations, Kissinger said on his arrival last night:
“Whenever we get discouraged, we should remember what has been achieved through several American Administrations and through several Israeli Administrations. I met many Israeli tourists in Cairo which would have been inconceivable eight years ago when I visited there.” Kissinger added, “So this is a difficult period, but also a hopeful one.”