LUXEMBOURG (Oct. 23)
Israeli Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir told Italian Foreign Minister Giuolio Andreotti at a private dinner here Monday night that Italy and the other European Economic Community (EEC) members should change their attitude toward the PLO in the light of events surrounding the hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship two weeks ago.
Shamir arrived here earlier in the day to attend the fourth gathering of the EEC-Israel Economic Cooperation Committee attended by the 10 EEC members’ Foreign Ministers.
During what Italian diplomatic sources described as a “good and normal talk” between the two Foreign Ministers, Andreotti told Shamir that Italy condemns terrorism but it cannot accept reprisals such as the Israel bombing of the PLO headquarters in Tunis October I.
These reprisals, Andreotti continued, are not helping stop violence in the Mideast. He told Shamir, too, that Italy is aware of the necessity to guarantee the existence and security of Israel. But at the same time, he said, the Palestinian problem — which has existed since 1948 — must be resolved, the diplomatic sources said.
The meeting between Shamir and Andreotti was the first since the two ministers met in New York Sept. 26, a few days before the Tunis bombing. Andreotti is known to have adopted a pro-Arab diplomacy, but Italian diplomatic sources would not comment on whether Italy had undergone a change in attitude toward the PLO after the recent hijack.
Shamir also held a meeting Monday with Luxembourg Prime Minister Jacques Santer, during which he stressed that Jordan’s King Hussein must dissociate himself from the PLO before direct negotiations with Israel can take place. Hussein is scheduled to visit Luxembourg November 5.
The Achille Lauro affair was also discussed during the Political Cooperation meeting of the 10 EEC Foreign Ministers and those of Spain and Portugal. At the meeting the British delegate explained the Foreign Office’s last-minute decision earlier this month to cancel a meeting with a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation which included two members of the PLO executive.
The official explanation issued at the time was. that the PLO representatives had refused to honor a precondition of the meeting, which was recognition of Israel’s right to exist within secure, recognized borders, and a renunciation of violence and terrorism in all of its forms.