JERUSALEM (Sep. 30)
Premier Shimon Peres expressed “hope” today that the restoration of diplomatic ties between Egypt and Jordan “will contribute toward the renewal of the peace process in the Middle East.”
Peres made that comment at today’s Cabinet meeting, stressing that the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty in 1979 which precipitated Jordan’s break with Cairo, was never intended to impair relations between Arab states.
The Prime Minister’s use of the word “renewal” with respect to the peace process was seen to be calculated not to arouse conflict with his Likud partners in the unity government over the terms of possible future peace talks with Jordan. “Renewal” implies a continuation of the Camp David process which Likud insists can be the only basis of such talks.
On the other hand, Peres did not mention Camp David specifically. The omission was apparently in deference to the Labor Party position that negotiations with Jordan need not necessarily be limited to the Camp David framework.
PERES TO MEET WITH REAGAN NEXT WEEK
Peres is preparing for his departure for the United States next Saturday night and the Cabinet will convene in special session Thursday to discuss his trip. Peres will be meeting in Washington with President Reagan, Secretary of State George Shultz and other top Administration officials. He will also meet with the Democratic Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates, Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro, during his week-long stay in the U.S.
Cabinet sources do not see any controversy developing between Labor and Likud at Thursday’s session over peace talks with Jordan inasmuch as there is no immediate prospects at this time that such talks will materialize.
Cabinet Secretary Yossi Beilin, who will accompany Peres to Washington, noted today that the unity government since its formation has not discussed President Reagan’s controversial Middle East peace plan of September 1, 1982. It was flatly rejected by the Likudled government at the time and until the Cabinet undertakes a formal discussion on the subject, it is bound by the decision of its predecessor, Beilin said.
GOVERNMENTAL POSITION ON LEBANON
The Cabinet apparently made no decision today on the withdrawal of the Israel Defense Force from Lebanon, though Peres predicted earlier that a decision will be made in the not too distant future. However, Beilin said the government’s position on Lebanon was discussed.
It calls for the assured security of Israel’s northern borders; combined operations by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the Israel-backed South Lebanon Army (SLA) to maintain security; and an understanding with Syria that they will not advance into areas of Lebanon vacated by the IDF or permit the infiltration of hostile elements.