Cheysson Calls for Direct Talks by All Concerned in the Mideast Crisis

Foreign Minister Claude Cheysson called today for direct talks between all those concerned by the Middle East crisis, “including by those who represent” the Palestinian people.

In an interview with Le Monde, Cheysson said, “There will be no peace in the area (the Middle East) as long as the rights of all nations are not recognized. Who can imagine that the Palestinian people will ever live in peace as long as it does not have a state of its own?”

Cheysson, who is scheduled to leave for a two-day official visit to Israel next Monday, brushed off Israeli Premier Menachem Begin’s accusations that he is “no friend of Israel.” The Minister said, “If I would not consider myself a friend of Israel, I would not have remained French Foreign Minister for even 24 hours longer.” Begin, in a television interview last week, charged that Cheysson “is no friend of ours.” He also said he will “question him” during his forthcoming trip to Israel on some of his recent declarations.

Cheysson retorted today: “I, in turn am curious about the answers he will give to my questions, if he will let me ask.” He stressed that he is a friend of Israel but believes that Israel’s future rests “in obtaining peace and in finding its place within the region.”

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