Haig Definitely Returning to Israel and Egypt Next Week
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Haig Definitely Returning to Israel and Egypt Next Week

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The State Department announced officially today that Secretary of State Alexander Haig will return to Israel and Egypt next week to "continue his fact finding mission on how best to proceed toward an autonomy agreement." Haig visited the two countries last week.

But Department spokesman Alan Romberg said he could not say if Haig would be bringing any new ideas on how to move the autonomy negotiations forward. After he visited Egypt and Israel last week, Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir said Haig would be bringing some new American proposals when he returns.

He will be in Israel and Egypt January 27-29 after meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko in Geneva on January 26. Romberg could not say whether Haig would discuss the Middle East with Gromyko. He said their talks would cover bilateral and human rights issues. Israeli officials said this week that Haig had promised to raise the situation of Soviet Jews, particularly the case of imprisoned activist Anatoly Shcharansky, at his meeting with Gromyko.


Romberg said Haig was not planning to meet before he goes to the Middle East, with Sol Linowitz who was U.S. special envoy to the region during the Carter Administration. Linowitz was in Egypt and Israel this week. Romberg said Haig does "look forward" to getting Linowitz’s impressions but stressed that Linowitz has no formal status at the State Department as an advisor.

Nevertheless, Haig reportedly has been seeking advice from Linowitz on Middle East problems, especially the autonomy talks with which he had been intimately associated.

Romberg said that Haig would meet in Israel with Premier Menachem Begin and in Egypt with President Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak is scheduled to visit Washington the following week.

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