JERUSALEM (Jul. 11)
Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir does not believe the Middle East will figure prominently on the agenda of President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev when they hold their summit meeting in Geneva in November.
Shamir noted, in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency yesterday, that the Reagan Administration has run into serious difficulties in its efforts to revive the peace process on the basis of a joint Jordanian-Palestinian negotiating team.
He did not appear to agree with some non-governmental observers who believe Washington must make progress in the Middle East before the Geneva summit in order to resist Soviet pressures to involve Moscow in the diplomatic process there.
CITES OBSTACLES TO PROGRESS
But according to Shamir, there are too many obstacles to progress. “There are differences between the PLO and Jordan, within the PLO itself and between the Arabs and the Americans,” he said. The basic Arab aim is to promote direct dialogue between the U.S. and the Palestine Liberation Organization, whereas the Administration’s goal is to pave the way for direct talks between the Arabs and Israel, Shamir pointed out.
The Arabs, including Jordan, balk at this. They insist on an international peace conference on the Middle East which would include not only the so-called moderate Arab states but the regional hardliners and the Soviet Union as one of the five participating permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Shamir said.
He said he has no idea whether Richard Murphy, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs would be coming to the region this month as planned. Murphy’s trip reportedly has been postponed because the U.S. has not been given a list of Palestinians who would form part of the joint delegation with Jordan. To be acceptable to the U.S. and to Israel they must have no known connection with the PLO.