Chances Improved for a Peres-mubarak Summit Meeting

Prospects seem to have improved for a summit meeting between Premier Shimon Peres and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, sources close to Peres indicated today. The two leaders will be in New York at the same time later this month to attend the 40th anniversary session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The chances of a summit may have been enhanced, these sources hinted, by the discreet visit to Cairo this week of Gen. (Res.) Avraham Tamir, Director General of the Prime Ministers Office. They described it as “a great success” noting that Tamir met twice in 24 hours with Mubarak.

Well placed sources told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that Tamir’s primary mission was to convey new Israeli proposals for a solution of the Taba dispute. Taba is a tiny strip of beach west of Eilat which is claimed by both Israel and Egypt.

The sources said Peres informed Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir of Tamir’s mission but did not seek his approval. They said Shamir received a preliminary report of Tamir’s talks in Cairo before he left today on an official visit to Japan. The sources would not divulge the contents of a personal message from Peres which Tamir delivered to Mubarak.

Shamir insists that the Taba dispute be resolved by conciliation. Egypt will accept only binding arbitration. While Peres and his Labor Party ministers are prepared to accede to Egypt on this, Shamir and his Likud colleagues in the Inner Cabinet have blocked any concessions. The Inner Cabinet consists of five Labor and five Likud ministers.

Nevertheless, the deadlock has not prevented a meeting being set up in New York this month between Shamir and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ismet Abdul Meguid.

While in Cairo, Tamir met the newly installed Egyptian Prime Minister, Ali Lufty, who is an economist by training. Lufty has replaced Prime Minister Kemal Hassan Ali who resigned, reportedly for health reasons. His departure is deeply regretted in Israeli circles. Hassan Ali is regarded as one of the “last of the Mohicans,” an astute Egyptian diplomat who was intimately involved in the Israeli-Egyptian peace process since its beginning in 1979.

NEXT STORY