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Reagan Sends to Congress the Nuclear Agreement with Egypt

President Reagan sent to Congress today the nuclear agreement with Egypt which, he said, will “further the non-proliferation and other foreign policy interests of the United States.”

The agreement signed at the State Department on June 29, could provide Egypt with up to two nuclear reactors for energy production purposes. Congress has 60 days in which to accept or reject the accord.

“The proposed bilateral agreement reflects the desire of the governments of the U.S. and Egypt to establish a framework for peaceful nuclear cooperation in a manner which will recognize our shared non-proliferation objectives, the economic and energy development needs of Egypt and the friendly and harmonious relations between the U.S. and Egypt,” Reagan said

in his message accompanying the nuclear cooperation agreement. The President noted that Egypt ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty last February. “This is an important step toward controling the dangers of the spread of nuclear weapons,” Reagan said, “and is a reaffirmation of Egypt’s long standing commitment to the objectives of this (non-proliferation) treaty and its commitment to peace and stability in the Middle East and Africa.”

NO COMMENT ON PLO CONTACTS

Meanwhile, White House Deputy Press Secretary Larry Speakes had no comment today on a report in the Los Angeles Times yesterday that the U.S. has been maintaining secret contacts with the Palestine Liberation Organization since the Nixon Administration and up to the present. He also had no comment on reports of joint Soviet-Syrian naval maneuvers off the Syrian coast.

That issue was raised by a minister at Israel’s Cabinet meeting yesterday but was promptly quashed by Premier Menachem Begin. Cabinet Secretary Arye Naor explained later that “This is not a matter for the government of Israel.” Uri Porat, Begin’s press spokesman, was quoted by Israel Radio yesterday as saying that Israel expects the U.S. to “react” to such Soviet moves wherever they are made, but especially in the Middle East.

At the State Department, spokesman Dean Fischer also refrained from commenting directly on the Los Angeles Times report. He merely repeated that the U.S. will not hold talks with the PLO until it recognizes Israel’s right to exist and accepts United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

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