PARIS (Feb. 25)
The agreement between King Hussein of Jordan and Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat “does not serve the interests of peace” in the Middle East, Israel’s Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir maintained in an interview published today in Le Monde.
But the Israeli leader, on a week-long visit to France, West Germany and Holland, did not rule out the possibility of a meeting between Premier Shimon Peres and Hussein. The conditions for such an eventuality “have been foreseen and are covered by the agreement which set up the (Labor-Likud unity) coalition government,” he said.
He saw the Hussein-Arafat accord, however, as a tactical move to draw the United States into contact with the PLO. The Israeli government so far has kept a low profile toward the agreement. It was announced on February II but the Jordanian and PLO versions, which emerged only this weekend, were contradictory in several key aspects.
Shamir is to meet with President Francoise Mitterrand this afternoon and will be the guest of honor at a State dinner given by Foreign Minister Roland Dumas tonight. He leaves for Bonn tomorrow for a meeting with Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
The main purpose of Shamir’s trip is to get guarantees for Israel’s agricultural exports to Western Europe after Spain and Portugal are admitted to the 10-nation European Economic Community (EEC).
WILL USE ALL AVAILABLE MEANS TO STOP TERRORISM
He used the Le Monde Interview, however, to defend Israeli policies in south Lebanon, from which the Israel Defense Force is now in the process of withdrawing. Much of the media here, and in Germany and Holland, the next countries on Shamir’s itinerary, have been sharply critical of the IDF’s allegedly repressive measures in the areas of south Lebanon still under its control.
Shamir told Le Monde, “We will use all available means to stop terrorist activities against our soldiers. We are going to use methods not yet employed,” he said, to make clear to “Lebanon and the entire Middle East that we are withdrawing not out of weakness but because our military presence (in Lebanon) is no longer necessary. All those who would want to take advantage of this situation will be severely punished.”
Shamir said he still believed the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in June, 1982 was not a mistake. “We had no other solution” at the time, he said.
CONCERN OVER FUTURE OF ISRAELI EXPORTS
Shamir is the third Israeli leader in as many weeks to visit Europe to present Israel’s concerns over the future of its exports once Spain and Portuga have full status as members of the EEC. He was preceded by President Chaim Herzog who visited Luxembourg and Brussels and addressed the Parliament of Europe in Strasbourg; and by Premier Peres who visited Italy and Rumania last week.
Spain is Israel’s principal competitor, especially in citrus exports to the European Common Market. Shamir is reminding his French hosts, and will remind the West Germans and Dutch as well, that the EEC is Israel’s main trading partner; and that even before the entry of Spain and Portugal it is running a $1.8 billion trade deficit with the 10 Common Market countries.
Shamir told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency here that unless Israel can secure guarantees that its agricultural exports will be granted equal terms with those of Spain and Portugal, Israel’s already floundering economy will suffer still more.
He said Israel hopes that France, West Germany and Holland will manage to convince Italy, also a major exporter of agricultural products, to end its opposition to special treatment for Israel.