PARIS (Jul. 19)
The European Economic Community (EEC) has abandoned plans to launch a separate peace initiative in Lebanon and has shelved the possibility of sanctions against Israel.
The Foreign Ministers of the 10 EEC member-states, meeting in Brussels today decided that a European initiative now would only hurt the chances for a political solution in Beirut which the U.S. is attempting to negotiate. But they will press the U.S. “to take into account the views of the Palestinians” in their search for a solution to the Middle East conflict.
The threat of sanctions appears dead inasmuch as the ministers will not reconvene until after the summer recess, by which time they are said to be hopeful that the crisis will have been resolved. Virtually all of the ministers called for closer European ties with the Palestine Liberation Organization. French Foreign Minister Claude Cheysson said that as the Palestinians draw closer to recognizing Israel, Western Europe should reciprocate by recognizing the PLO in turn.
URGE SUPPORT FOR ‘MODERATE’ ARABS
Both the West German Foreign Minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher and Dutch Premier Andries van Agt, called on Europe to increase its backing for the “moderate” Arab regimes which they said, were threatened by what seemed to the Arab world to be unconditional Western support for Israel.
The two, who only recently returned from visits to the Middle East, also said moderate Arabs were afraid that if the PLO were to disappear, the Palestinians would turn to terrorism and strike at both Western and pro-Western Arab interests.
Van Agt, who recently visited Jordan, said King Hussein told him that an overwhelming majority of the Arab states, as many as 16 including Jordan, now favor the Fahd peace plan which, he said, provides for Israel’s recognition. The European ministers came to the conclusion that an Arab summit which would back the plan, suggested by Saudi Arabia’s now-King Fahd, would be “a great step forward towards peace.”