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U.S. Mulling Its Participation at the Resumed Autonomy Talks

The United States has not yet made a decision on whether it will be represented at the resumption of the Egyptian-Israeli autonomy talks, but is “considering all options,” according to State Department spokesman Dean Fischer, and “would not rule out the possibility” that Secretary of State Alexander Haig will represent the United States.

Fischer was asked at the State Department briefing today whether it would not be unusual for the United States not to be represented at the first meetings of the Foreign Ministers scheduled to take place in Cairo Sept. 23-24. Haig will be at United Nations General Assembly meetings in New York at that time. Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamal Hassan Ali is also scheduled to be at the General Assembly session at the same time.

Fischer replied: “We don’t regard it as particularly unusual, because of the fact that they (Israel and Egypt) are signatories to the Camp David treaty as we are ourselves. The two countries do have full diplomatic relations, they meet bilaterally at various levels on a variety of subjects, just as we meet bilaterally with each of them. We regard these meetings as being as much a part of our full partnership relationship as the trilateral negotiating sessions themselves.”

Fischer was asked whether a replacement for former special Mideast Ambassador Sol Linowitz was being considered and he replied “that decision has not been made.” He was asked about reports that the autonomy negotiations would be held in New York and he said, “We have no confirmation and no comment on them. It is very possible that Secretary Haig will meet with them (the participants) if they come to New York.”

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