PARIS (Feb. 2)
King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and President Francois Mitterrand will meet Saturday for what reportedly will be a “joint effort” to find a solution to the Middle East crisis.
France is known to support the Saudi Fez plan which calls for negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization in exchange for indirect recognition of Israefby the Arab states. The Fez plan was adopted at an Arab summit conference in Morocco in 1982 shortly after President Reagan announced his Mideast peace initiative.
It is generally believed that Fahd will ask France to adopt a more balanced stance in Lebanon, namely to stop supporting the government of President Amin Gemayel and favor a compromise solution between Gemayel and Syria, the Moslems and the Druze. The Saudis want to end the fighting in Lebanon and to obtain a withdrawal of all Israeli forces.
They are reportedly backed by Egypt and Jordan, and would like France, the current chairman of the European Economic Community’s Council of Ministers, to launch a diplomatic initiative in favor of the Fez plan.
Relations between France and Saudi Arabia are traditionally close. Mitterrand’s first trip abroad, after his election in 1981, was to Riyadh and the first foreign head of state to visit him was the late King Khaled of Saudi Arabia. In recent months relations became still closer after Saudi Arabia concluded a $4 billion arms agreement with France, the largest arms deal ever concluded by a French Administration.