Peres Praises Mondale for His ‘interest and Support of Israel’

Premier Shimon Peres of Israel praised Democratic Presidential candidate Walter Mondale for his “great interest and support for Israel,” at the end of a 40-minute meeting between the two leaders at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel here last Wednesday evening.

But Peres, in a brief statement to reporters after the meeting, said that support for Israel in the United States is bi-partisan. He said, as Mondale stood at his side, that he is not going to get involved in the election campaign. “I am not going to advise you what to do in America,” Peres said in reference to the upcoming elections.

After Peres left, Mondale said that he talked with the Israeli leader about two issues: Israel’s economic difficulties and the situation in Lebanon.

The former Vice President sharply attacked the Mideast policy of the Reagan Administration, charging that as a result of President Reagan’s lack of personal involvement in the Mideast, the U.S. “influence in the Mideast is waning.” He said that Reagan has not been “personally involved in any of the negotiations and what we need now is a new policy, an energetic policy of personal intervention to move forward.”

Mondale said that as President, he would work for direct negotiations between Israel and its neighbors and let them discuss their differences. He also stressed that he opposes any imposed solution in the Mideast. Mondale also accused Reagan of escalating the arms race in the Mideast by supplying advanced weapons to the Arabs.

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