WASHINGTON (Sep. 8)
Secretary of State George Shultz, stressing that the U.S. still maintained the conditions the PLO must meet before the U.S. will talk with the terrorist organization, declared that any group responsible for violence cannot be part of the Middle East peace process.
Speaking to reporters after an hour-long meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Modai at the State Department Friday, Shultz said the U.S. is concerned about the recent “upsurge of violence” and the efforts of “radicals” to use violence “to derail the peace process.”
He said this cannot be allowed, adding, “It is very clear to us that those who perpetuate violence deal themselves out of the peace process.”
Modai stressed that Israel will never negotiate with any delegation that included members of the PLO. He said he welcomed the U.S. position stated by Shultz a few minutes earlier on terrorist groups. Shultz also noted that “for talks with the PLO our conditions remain as they have been for many years.” While he did not state them, the conditions are PLO’s acceptance of UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and Israel’s right to exist.
SHULTZ ADMIRES PERES’ ECONOMIC EFFORTS
The two officials said they spent most of their time discussing Israel’s economic austerity program, with Shultz expressing his “admiration” for the efforts taken by Premier Shimon Peres and his government. The Secretary announced that Israel will receive in the next few days about half of the $750 million supplemental appropriation for 1985. Modai said that this will be the last supplemental request that Israel would make. (See related story.)
In response to a question, Shultz said Jordan would receive U.S. arms but gave no details. “It is clear to us that Jordan has definite security problems,” he said. “We feel that help from the U.S. is justified.” However, he added that President Reagan has made “no decision on what he might propose or when he might propose it.”
But Modai said, “Israel resents any supply of arms to any country in the region which does not recognize the State of Israel and which does not have diplomatic relations with the State of Israel.” He said that Israel is grateful for U.S. military aid but by giving arms to its enemies, the U.S. offsets the military balance and places the situation back to where it was before Israel received the aid.
Outlining the U.S. policy in the Mideast, Shultz said the main effort was to help to try to bring the parties in the region together. “Our effort needs to be and is to do everything we can to bring about direct negotiations between an Arab interlocutor able to speak authoritatively and Israel.”
Modai stressed that Israel is committed to peace talks and under the Camp David accords is also committed to “direct negotiations with King Hussein and a delegation which would include representatives of the Arab population in Judaea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.”
He added that if the U.S. does engage in talks with a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation, “they can only be very general, very brief, because the only parties that can discuss a peace process in the area are those who live in the area.”
REBUKES RUMOR MILLS ABOUT MIDEAST POLICY
Shultz noted that sometimes when he reads the “rumor mills” about supposed changes in U.S. Mideast policy he begins to think that somebody must “think we lost our marbles.” While he did not say what he was referring to, he may have been pointing to reports all week here that the U.S. is considering accepting Nabil Shaath, the close personal adviser to PLO leader Yasir Arafat, as one of the four Palestinians on a joint delegation.
During his two days of talks in Washington, Modai also met with Vice President George Bush and Treasury Secretary James Baker.