Washington (Mar. 5)
– The Reagan Administration has emphasized that it “intends to build” on the peace process in the Middle East grounded on the Camp David agreements and expressed confidence that the European Economic Community (EEC) will “take no action” to interfere with it.
The statement was made yesterday by State Department spokesman William Dyess in response to a question by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency asking for a clarification of the Reagan Administration’s position in light of conflicting reports, many of them attributed to unnamed sources, on the results of the meetings here last week by President Reagan and Secretary of State Alexander Haig with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, British Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington and French Foreign Minister Jean Francois-Poncet.
Following is the text of Dyess’ response to the question on the European Middle East initiative: “We have made plain that this Administration supports the ongoing peace process and intends to build on it in seeking a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. We feel that the talks over the past days here with our European allies have confirmed that all of us have a major interest in achieving peace in the Middle East and in strengthening security against the Soviet threat there.
“After these talks, we are confident that our Western European allies understand the importance that they take no action that would undercut the peace process. In these consultations, we were particularly gratified that Mrs. Thatcher was able to say in public that the efforts of the 10 (EEC member states) are meant to be complementary to the efforts being made by the U.S. to move toward a settlement and a peace that we are all seeking.”
Thatcher spoke about the EEC’s efforts being “complementary” in an interview with Barbara Walters on ABC television last Sunday. Since then, Haig has announced that he will visit Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, beginning April 3, and a report, attributed to unnamed sources, said that Lord Carrington would be meeting with Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat before the end of the year. The EEC’s Venice declaration of last June called for the “association” of the PLO with the Mideast peace process.