Normalization Talks End with Accord on a Number of Issues

The meetings between Israeli and Egyptian delegations held here last week to advance the normalization process between the two countries ended last Friday with a memorandum of undertstanding listing the agreements reached and the subjects on which agreement was not achieved. The normalization talks are scheduled to be resumed Oct. 23.

The main areas of agreement dealt with tourism. Israel will be allowed to launch a tourism campaign in Egypt through an official tourist office to be opened in Cairo. There will be two additional flights a week between Tel Aviv and Cairo, one by a jumbo jet. Israeli commercial aircraft will be permitted to land at Sharm el-Sheikh after Israel completes its withdrawal from Sinai next April.

Although Israel had objected, it was agreed that Israelis, like all other foreigners visiting Egypt, will require entry visas and will have to purchase $120 worth of Egyptian currency at their entry point. More border entry points will be established. Israelis visiting Egypt on business will be granted entry visas valid for a number of visits.

NO ACCORD ON TWO ISSUES

The two main issues on which no agreement was reached were Egypt’s refusal to ease visa requirements for Israelis to visit Sinai and its refusal to allow Israeli aircraft to land at the Santa Catherina monastery, a tourist attraction in central Sinai. The Egyptians left open the establishment of a consulate at Eilat to expedite the issuance of visas for visits to Sinai. They have yet to decide whether to open a tourist information office in Tel Aviv, whether to work out joint package tours with the Israelis and to shorten the aerial route between the two countries.

Trade ties were not on the agenda of last week’s normalization talks. Israel and Egypt had agreed previously that a bilateral committee would meet once a year to discuss trade and customs issues. An Israeli trade delegation left for Cairo today.

Israel and Egypt also agreed in principle to open a direct telephone line between the two countries. Practical proposals will be submitted when the normalization talks are resumed next month.

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