JERUSALEM (Aug. 31)
Moshe Arens, Israel’s Ambassador to Washington, said today he does not anticipate any significant political developments resulting from U.S. Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger’s visit to Israel. Weinberger is expected here tomorrow.
Arens told reporters on his arrival at Ben Gurion Airport that the main purpose of Weinberger’s visit was to “strengthen the ties between the two countries.” He said he did not expect any concrete results, such as the resumption of the shipment of American jet fighter aircraft to Israel, suspended by the Reagan Administration during the war in Lebanon.
The Israeli envoy also predicted that there was now a good chance for the Syrian forces in Lebanon to leave the country, thus clearing the way for the Israel Defense Force to withdraw its troops. Israel has said its withdrawal a conditional upon Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon.
Arens arrived here to brief officials on the Weinberger visit, which came after lengthy efforts by Arens to persuade the Defense Secretary to visit Israel, according to reports. Sources here indicated that Arens has established a good working relationship with Weinberger and, as a result, the Defense Secretary’s attitude toward Israel has mellowed.
For Weinberger, it will be his first visit to the Jewish State. He is expected to visit the U.S. marines in Beirut helping oversee the evacuation of the PLO from Lebanon and also to visit Egypt. He will meet with Premier Menachem Begin in Nahariya where Begin is vacationing.
MUBARAK ANTICIPATES NEW IDEAS FROM WEINBERGER
Weinberger is expected in Egypt on Friday. President Hosni Mubarak said today he anticipated some new ideas for a settlement of the Middle East situation to be presented by Weinberger when they meet. According to reports, this could be the reported suggestion by the U.S. to establish a demilitarized Palestinian state on the West Bank.
Mubarak said today that his position not to accept the evacuating PLO terrorists from Beirut, unless their evacuation was part of an overall settlement of the Palestinian issue, was instrumental in having brought about a change in the American view toward the Middle East.