PARIS (Jan. 31)
Israel’s Labor Party leader Shimon Peres called on the United States today to refrain from exerting any pressure on Israel, warning that such a move would be “counter-productive.”
Peres said he understood American impatience with the slow progress of the talks with Lebanon but said the issue was highly complex and might have to be solved on the basis of an interim agreement. The first phase of such an arrangement could consist of the withdrawal of all foreign troops — Israeli, Syrian and PLO –from “the heart of Lebanon and the Shouf mountains,” Peres told a press conference here this afternoon.
The Israeli leader had earlier conferred for over an hour with President Francois Mitterrand and had later been the luncheon guest of Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy. He had also met with Minister of Culture Jack Lang and Socialist Party Secretary General Lionel Jospin.
Peres, who flew back to Israel this evening, said Mitterrand has come out in favor of Jordan’s King Husseins participation in future peace talks with Israel. The Israeli opposition leader also said Mitterrand will personally urge Hussein to join the peace talks and will also use his influence with the West Bank Arab mayors.
CITES REASONS FOR SLOW TALKS
Peres said the peace talks with Lebanon are slow and complex “because Israel would rather achieve an agreement and normalize its relation: with all of Lebanon rather than sign a peace treaty with part of Lebanon,” implying that such a treaty with the Phalangists would have posed no major problem.
He also called for security arrangements for Israel’s northern border and said this could be achieved by integrating Maj. Saad Haddad into the Lebanese army and appointing him to head security arrangements in the border strip.
Peres and Lang agreed to organize an international peace conference for Palestine in Jerusalem with the participation of Socialist intellectuals from all over the world. No date for the meeting has been fixed but Peres informed Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek of the plan immediately after his meeting with Lang this morning. Kollek reportedly welcomed the project.
WARM PRAISE FOR NAVON
Peres refused to comment on Israeli President Yitzhak Navon’s decision not to seek a second term and not to run against Premier Menachem Begin, in spite of persistent questioning by French leaders and the press. Peres said his comments, if any, will be made in Israel. In France he only paid “warm tribute to Navon’s qualities as President and as a close personal friend.”
Peres had spent three days in France as the guest of the United Jewish Appeal. He addressed fund-raising meetings in Paris and in the south of France.