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Egyptian-israeli Talks on Taba Has Been Deferred

Talks between Israel and Egypt on resolving the still-disputed issue of the border of Taba have been deferred, apparently because of the Lebanon situation. The talks were to have begun in Alexandria yesterday.

Israeli sources said the Cairo press, and especially the semi-official Al Ahram, has stepped up its intense preoccupation with the Taba issue, insisting on early arbitration and claiming that Egypt has already appointed its own arbiter, an elderly jurist named Dr. Wahid Raafat.

Raafat himself has published articles supporting the Egyptian claim and even contending against the legality of Israel’s presence at Eilat, which is alongside the disputed tract at Taba.

Israel for its part seeks a process of conciliation rather than arbitration. Conciliation is a more voluntary arrangement based on good faith, whereas arbitration involves the binding ruling of an arbitration panel.

Both words–conciliation and arbitration–appear in the Camp David peace treaty article dealing with conflict-resolution, and Israel holds that they must each be tried in turn. Egypt contends that the parties can go to arbitration without going first through the state of conciliation.

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