Paris (Jun. 30)
President Francois Mitterrand today backed U.S. peace efforts in the Middle East and said the European Economic Community (EEC) should help Washington’s search for a solution.
Speaking at an EEC summit meeting in Luxembourg, the French leader stressed that the 12-month old European initiative should not be considered as the sole solution to the Middle East problems and he advocated the U.S. styled step-by-step approach instead.
President Mitterrand’s stand diverged sharply from that taken by his predecessor, Valery Giscard d’ Estaing in the sense that he showed he was much in favor of the Camp David agreements.
“The Camp David approach is much better,” he told his EEC partners. France’s new President however said he did not want to oppose other EEC states but to try and seek a better understanding of the Mideast situation.
The Common Market nevertheless reaffirmed its Mideast initiative but took no decision concerning its next moves as it awaited the outcome of the Israeli Knesset elections today as well as new moves from the Reagan Administration.
France’s partners agreed that no solution was possible without the help of the U.S. but they did not hesitate to endorse a UN Security Council vote condemning Israel’s bombing of Iraq’s nuclear installation. Mitterrand said France had adopted the EEC Venice Resolution on the Mideast of June 1980 and that it had committed itself. But he insisted that the question was to know whether one was talking about the substance of the resolution or methods. “The final aim must be a global settlement but the methods must be a step-by-step approach,” he said.