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U.S. Welcomes Israeli-egyptian Talks; but Says There is Still a Long Way to Go Before U.S. Becomes I

The Reagan Administration welcomed today the talks in Jerusalem between Egypt and Israel on the Middle East peace process this week but stressed there is still a long way to go before the U.S. would agree to again become directly involved in negotiations.

The Administration was reacting to reports that Israeli Premier Shimon Peres told envoys sent by President Hosni Mubarak that Israel agreed to Mubarak’s call for direct talks with Jordan or with a Jordanian-Palestinian delegation as long as it did not include known members of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

“The U.S. is prepared to re-engage in the peace process whenever the parties are ready and in what ever manner they deem appropriate,” State Department deputy spokesman Edward Djerejian said. “We are pleased that Egypt and Israel are addressing this important matter in a constructive way. These are beginning positive steps but there remains a long road ahead.”

CITES TWO FUNDAMENTAL GUIDELINES

Djerjean said there are two fundamental “guidelines” that must be met for the U.S. to re-enter the talks. “It remains our view that direct negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbors are the only effective means to achieve a just and lasting peace in the Middle East,” he said. He stressed that the second step was acceptance of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 “without equivocation.”

Djerejian said the Administration “looks forward to exploring this issue with President Mubarak personally” when he somes to Washington for talks with President Reagan on March 12.

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