Eec Seeking Role in Renewed Middle East Peace Efforts

With the new Israeli unity government in place, there is an opening now for renewed Middle East peace efforts in which the European Economic Community (EEC) nations would like to take an active part, West Germany’s Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher has told Egyptian Foreign Minister Abdel Esmat Meguid in a conversation at the United Nations in New York, it was reported here.

He conveyed a similar message at a separate meeting with UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, according to reports. He has also accepted an invitation from his Syrian counterpart, Farouk Al-Shara, to visit Damascus in the near future. German diplomatic sources said the visit is in line with Genscher’s hope to reactivate the Middle East diplomatic involvement of the EEC countries.

According to Genscher’s aides, the Foreign Minister did not specify what the European community would do. But he made it clear that the Europeans prefer to advance existing “realistic efforts” toward a resolution of the Middle East conflict rather than formulate a peace plan of their own.

Sources in Bonn said the European Foreign Ministers have recently discussed the issue and instructed their aides to prepare alternative drafts for diplomatic action.

SUPPORT SEEN FOR REAGAN’S INITIATIVE

The language Genscher used in reference to existing peace efforts suggested to observers here that the EEC, or at least West Germany, would back elements of President Reagan’s September 1, 1982 peace plan and of the plan advanced by King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. Both are viewed here and in other major Western European capitals as realistic and even-handed.

Genscher’s talks with Meguid also served to prepare for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s visit to Bonn from October 30-November 2. Mubarak reportedly will seek new West German commitments for massive economic aid and credits for the possible purchase of several nuclear power stations. West German companies are competing with American and French manufacturers of nuclear plants for the multi-billion dollar order.

In his talk with the Syrian Foreign Minister, Genscher is said to have stressed that the role played by Damascus in Lebanon and in the Middle East generally puts special responsibility on Syria. He also told the Syrian diplomat, as he had the Egyptian, that now that Israel has formed a new government, the time is ripe for the Europeans to renew their diplomatic activity in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, in a written statement on the Jewish New Year, Genscher pledged that Bonn will continue to cooperate closely with Israel and support its efforts to solve its economic crisis and advance peace prospects in the region. He stressed that the Bonn government will do anything it can to contribute toward a broad and lasting peace in the Middle East.

NEXT STORY