CAIRO (Nov. 28)
U.S. special envoy Philip Habib arrived today in Cairo on the fourth stop of his most recent Middle East tour aimed at securing the withdrawal of foreign troops from Lebanon and the resumption of the peace process.
Habib, who will meet tomorrow with President Hosni Mubarak, conferred with Foreign Minister Kama Hassan Ali immediately upon his arrival.
According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Raouf Ghoneim, the American envoy briefed Ali on the results of his talks last week in Beirut, Damascus, Tel Aviv and Amman, and discussed “several formulas” for achieving the early withdrawal of Israeli and other foreign forces from Lebanon.
The two also discussed prospects for resuming the Middle East peace process on the basis of the Reagan initiative and reviewed formulas that could secure “the participation of all parties concerned” in any future negotiations, Ghoneim said. He added that Ali called upon Israel to adopt “confidence-building measures” on the West Bank aimed at creating a suitable atmosphere for continuing negotiations.
THE ISSUE OF TABA
The meeting scheduled for tomorrow between Mubarak and Habib is expected to cover the questions of Lebanon and the peace process, as well as steps toward resolving the dispute between Egypt and Israel over Taba, the territory south of Eilat which Israel and Egypt each claims as its own.
Egypt has been pressing for an early resumption of negotiations over Taba, with U.S. participation, something which Israel has rejected as long as Egypt refuses to discuss bilateral relations within the same framework of talks.
Ghoneim told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that a U.S. proposal for a tripartite meeting to resolve the Taba dispute and draw up an agenda for future talks on Israeli-Egyptian relations had been forwarded to Israel. But he would not confirm a recent report which said that Egypt bad itself accepted the proposal. “We are waiting to hear from the Israeli side,” Ghoneim said.
The meeting suggested by the U.S. would serve as a compromise between Egypt’s insistence on discussing Taba as an isolated issue and the Israeli position.
From Cairo, Habib is expected to fly to Rabat for a joint meeting with King Hassan of Morocco and King Fahd of Saudi Arabia on the Arab Middle East peace initiative introduced at Fez, Morocco last September.