London (Nov. 24)
Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington called today on Arab leaders meeting in Fez, Morocco, to approve the eight-point plan proposed by Crown Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia.
Speaking an the BBC’s World Service, Carrington said that by backing the Saudi plan the other Arab leaders would be saying that they want peace and that they are ready to recognize Israel. If they did so, he added, it would have a good effect and should be welcomed by all Middle East states, including Israel.
He denied that there were any differences between the Americans and British over the Saudi principles, claiming that President Reagan, like Carrington himself, had given them “a cautious welcome.”
Asked about the Sinai multinational Force and Observers (MFO), in which the European Economic Community (EEC) agreed yesterday to participate, Carrington said he very much hoped that it would not be too long before the force was placed under the auspices of the United Nations, where it had earlier been vetoed.
Britain is expected to provide about 100 troops. They will be drawn mainly from the Royal Engineers and the Royal Signal Corps. It is not yet clear whether combat personnel will also be included.
Reaction here has been muted. Denis Healey, the Labor opposition foreign affairs spokesman, has been critical of the use of British troops and suggested in last night’s House of Commons debate that the Palestine Liberation Organization, which strongly opposes the Sinai force, should have been consulted.
From the Conservative backbenches, two pro-Israel MPs, Sir Hugh Fraser and Anthony Steen, criticized the paucity of Britain’s contingent. Steen called it “Two busloads.”
The warmest support for the Camp David peace process — almost written off by Conservatives and Labor — is now coming from the newly formed Social Democratic Party. In Parliament yesterday David Owen, the Social Democrats’ foreign affairs spokesman and a former Labor Foreign Secretary, said the Camp David process should be further advanced and widened. He attacked the government for undermining it.
His speech, following similar remarks he made in Israel last week, suggested that the Social Democrats, who claim to be the true heirs of Labor’s values, may also be adopting Labor’s traditional pose of friendship for Israel at a time when Labor itself is drifting in the opposite direction.