NEW YORK (Oct. 1)
Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir of Israel, emerging from an hourlong meeting with Secretary of State George Shultz, said today that Israel is interested in withdrawing from Lebanon “as soon as possible” and as soon as satisfactory security measures are established. He said that the issue of Lebanon was one of several topics he and Shultz discussed at their meeting at the United Nations Plaza Hotel.
Another issue he discussed with Shultz, Shamir said, concemed Israel’s economic situation and the recent measures taken by the Israeli government to improve the country’s economic condition.
The Shamir-Shultz meeting lasted 60 minutes, 20 of which the two diplomats spent alone. They were joined for the remainder by top aides. According to Shamir’s spokesman, Avi Pazner, the meeting was largely in preparation for the talks to be held in Washington next week between Israeli Premier Shimon Peres, Shamir and Administration officials.
Pazner said Shultz opened today’s meeting with Shamir by thanking Israel for the condolences it extended to the U.S. after the terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy annex in East Beirut last month and its offers of medical assistance for the injured. Shultz said Israel was the only country to offer such assistance.
ISSUES DISCUSSED AT THE MEETING
Shultz also expressed great interest in the meeting last week between Shamir and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko at the United Nations. Shamir told Shultz that Gromyko wanted to convince Israel to join in an international conference for peace in the Middle East. He informed Shultz that he had replied that Israel favors only direct peace negotiations with its neighbors. Shultz said the U.S. is also opposed to an international conference.
According to Pazner, Israel’s economic problems were discussed in general terms. He said details of this matter and the issue of Israel’s request for further economic assistance from the U.S. will be discussed at the meetings in Washington next week.
Meanwhile, the spokesman said Shamir will meet tomorrow with Richard Murphy, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastem and South Asian Affairs, to hear his report of his recent meetings in Damascus and Beirut.
Another topic discussed by Shamir and Shultz was strategic cooperation between Israel and the U.S. Pazner said he could not elaborate.
In response to a question by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Shamir said the Reagan plan for Mideast peace, which President Reagan told the UN General Assembly last week that the U.S. was still committed to, was not discussed today with Shultz.
Shamir also met today with UN Secreary General Javier Perez De Cuellar and with the foreign ministers of Singapore, Philippines, Italy and Venezuela.