Peres Presses Ahead with His Efforts to Revive the Faltering Mideast Peace Process

Premier Shimon Peres, pressing ahead with his efforts to revive the faltering Middle East peace process, met with U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering today to discuss ways to arrange international auspices for direct talks between Israel and a Jordanian-Palestinian delegation.

King Hussein of Jordan insists an international framework is necessary if he is to negotiate with Israel. Israel has rejected Hussein’s proposal that the talks be held under the auspices of the United Nations Security Council with the participation of its five permanent members, including the Soviet Union.

Pickering was accompanied at today’s meeting by Wat Cluverius, the outgoing U.S. Consul in East Jerusalem who has been appointed the State Department’s special envoy to promote Middle East peace negotiations. Cluverius will be replaced by another veteran of Mideast diplomacy, Morris Draper, who was closely involved with former special envoy Philip Habib in trying to resolve the Lebanon conflict several years ago.

Israeli sources said Pickering briefed Peres on the outcome of Secretary of State George Shultz’s presummit talks in Moscow this week. He briefed Foreign Minister and Deputy Premier Yitzhak Shamir separately on the same subject. Israel Radio reported today that Shultz had failed to persuade the Kremlin to free imprisoned Jewish activist Anatoly Shcharansky as a good will gesture in advance of this month’s summit meeting between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Meanwhile, officials here dismissed as worthless Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat’s statement in Cairo last night that the PLO opposed all terrorist acts against innocent, defenseless people. Arafat sought to distinguish between such attacks and what he called legitimate resistance to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

A spokesman for the Prime Ministers’ Office asked rhetorically, “What fool would believe Arafat?”

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