Peres and Hassan Willing to Meet but It May Be Some Time Before They Do So
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Peres and Hassan Willing to Meet but It May Be Some Time Before They Do So

Political analysts here said today that a meeting between Premier Shimon Peres and King Hassan of Morocco was unlikely at this time although the two leaders have just stated publicly they would be willing to meet.

Hassan told French journalists yesterday he would like to meet the Israeli Premier for direct negotiations if Peres came up with serious proposals for a solution of the Middle East conflict. Peres said here today that he would gladly visit Morocco or anywhere else at any time if he received an invitation from Hassan, or that he would gladly host Hassan in Jerusalem “to talk peace.” He confirmed there have been “exchanges of messages” between himself and the Moroccan ruler who is the current chairman of the Arab League.

“In my view, anyone can contribute to the advancement of peace in our region, especially heads of state. King Hassan could have an important contribution,” Peres said in response to Hassan’s statement.


But the analysts said today that Peres does not need Hassan’s mediation in the peace process at present because the main objective of his foreign policy is to reach some sort of agreement with King Hussein of Jordan.

They noted that unlike the negotiations that preceded President Anwar Sadat’s trip to Jerusalem in 1977–which Hassan played an important part in arranging — Jordanian-Israeli contacts do not depend on outside Arab intervention. The U.S. is the main broker in that process. (Washington Reaction, P.3.)

According to some observers here, Hassan wants to play a mediating role in the Arab-Israeli conflict for his own political ends and is more interested in doing that than the parties to the conflict are in seeking his intervention.

Nevetheless, Israel has had contacts with Morocco over the years and, considering that the latter is an Arab League member-state, they have not been unfriendly. Peres in fact met with Hassan five years ago when he was a member of the Labor opposition in the Knesset. His secret visit to Morocco at the time was subsequently leaked to the press. But the content of his talk with Hassan has never been disclosed.

Morocco has become relatively open to Israelis in recent years. It hosted a delegation of Knesset members to a conference there last year. Israelis of Moroccan origin get visas to visit that country without much difficulty.

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