Washington (Mar. 3)
Secretary of State Alexander Haig will visit Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia in that order between April 3 and April 8, the State Department announced today.
Haig will leave Washington on the evening of April 3 and spend about a day in each country, Department spokesman William Dyess said. He said the trip will give Haig “a first-hand opportunity to discuss with our friends the shared concerns for security in this strategic area and hear their views on how to proceed to settle the Israeli-Arab conflict.”
Dyess said that bilateral discussions also will be held and that all four governments have welcomed Haig’s visit to the area.
When he was asked whether Haig will approach the Saudis and Jordan from the position of the Camp David formula, Dyess indicated that he would not necessarily discuss every subject in every country. He said, when asked whether Haig would use other approaches besides Camp David, that he had “no information to indicate that” and “that this Administration is firmly in support of the Camp David process.”
ANNOUNCEMENT ON SAUDI DEAL DUE
Dyess denied a report that the Reagan Administration will decline to provide Saudi Arabia with both in-air refueling equipment and bomb racks and deliver missiles and fuel tanks to the Saudis for the 60 F-15 warplanes it has purchased. He said that no decision has been made but that it was probable an announcement would be mode by the end of this week.
Meanwhile, consultations are continuing between the Administration and Saudi Arabia and Congress where considerable opposition to the sale of the accessories has arisen.
Responding to a question for comment on Israeli attacks on Palestinian bases in southern Lebanon, Dyess said that the Administration is “deeply concerned” about the violence both in southern Lebanon and northern Israel which has been the target of Palestinian shelling with Soviet-made rockets. He said he deplored the suffering “on both sides.”
Dyess’ volunteered comment on the attacks in Israel was unusual in that prior to Haig becoming Secretary of State the Department rarely, if ever, volunteered comments about such attacks unless it was specifically asked.