TEL AVIV (Nov. 27)
Premier Yitzhak Shamir and Defense Minister Moshe Arens left for the U.S. today. They are scheduled to meet with President Reagan at the White House Tuesday and with other top Administration officials before returning to Israel by the end of the week.
Shamir said, at a brief airport press conference before departure that he and Arens were going to Washington “to discuss problems which are common to Israel and the U.S.” He said both countries “have common objectives in the Middle East and both are working for the maintenance and promotion of peace and stability in the area.”
The Premier said, “We shall discuss all the issues connected with the situation in Lebanon, the Syrian issue and promoting the peace process. We shall also discuss together practical ways to strengthen the Israeli economy and increase Israel’s deterrent strength capability since it is clear to the U.S. that a strong Israel is the best guarantee of peace in the Middle East.”
ISRAEL WON’T CONSIDER A SETTLEMENT FREEZE
Shamir has been stressing repeatedly in radio interviews over the weekend that he did not expect the Americans to raise the issue of a freeze on Jewish settlements on the West Bank, a component of Reagan’s Middle East peace initiative of September 1, 1982.
He said he did not expect a request for a settlement freeze would be made during his talks in Washington and declared that Israel would not consider it even if such a request were made as an inducement for King Hussein of Jordan to enter peace negotiations.
Shamir also insisted in his interviews that he was not seeking any document on strategic cooperation between Israel and the U.S., such as the now moribund memorandum of understanding the two countries initialed in November, 1981. On the other hand, he said, he would try to reach an understanding with the Administration on the coordination of practical steps needed to attain the common objectives of Israel and the U.S. in the area.
Shamir insisted that he would agree to no changes or amendments to the agreement between Israel and Lebanon, signed last May 17 but not yet ratified by Lebanon. “I do not see any possibility of limiting that agreement as it is already limited” he said.
REAGAN AND GEMAYEL TO MEET
Meanwhile, the White House has announced that President Reagan will meet with President Amin Gemayel of Lebanon in Washington on December 1, two days after his meeting with Shamir and Arens. Deputy press secretary Marlin Fitzwater, speaking for the President who was at his California ranch over the Thanksgiving holiday, said that Reagan and Gemayel would discuss ways to promote Lebanese national reconciliation and the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Lebanon.