Menu JTA Search

Kimche Meets U.S. Officials

David Kimche, Director General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, met with two ranking U.S. officials here today but the State Department would not say whether the possible redeployment of Israeli troops in Lebanon was one of the topics discussed.

Kimche, who headed the Israeli delegation in the negotiations with Lebanon for the agreement the two countries signed last month, had meetings with Nicholas Veliotes, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs and with Lawrence Eagleburger, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs.

Asked if their talks might have been concerned with an Israeli redeployment, State Department spokesman John Hughes declared: “Our position is very clear. Our policy is for total withdrawal of all foreign forces. A mechanism exists for that. We think that Israel and Lebanon have taken steps toward implementation of that mechanism and now we look to the Syrians to take other steps which would make that possible.”

Asked about the possibility that the U.S.-Israel memorandum of understanding for strategic cooperation may now be revived, Hughes said he is “not aware of it being a subject of discussion at present.” Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger said in response to questions at the National Press Club Tuesday that “The revival or restitution of that memorandum could take place at virtually any time depending on the wishes of the Israeli government.” The accord was suspended shortly after it was signed in October, 1981 because of Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights.

Hughes was asked if Syria’s Foreign Minister, Abdel Halim Khaddam, has accepted or rejected the invitation to visit Washington, extended when Secretary of State George Shultz was in the Middle East last month. The State Department spokesman replied that “The invitation clearly still stands. I am not aware of any negative response.” Hughes also said that the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Samuel Lewis, was to meet with Premier Menachem Begin today to work on the schedule of Begin’s visit to the U.S. next month. The visit will be announced by the White House.

NEXT STORY