Peres Pleased with Egypt’s Efforts to Advance Mideast Peace

Premier Shimon Peres apparently is pleased with Egypt’s efforts to advance the Middle East peace process and with its investigation, so far, into the murder of seven Israeli tourists in Sinai last October 5 by an allegedly berserk Egyptian policeman or soldier.

But while Peres extended a warm welcome to Egypt’s Oil Minister, Abdel Hadi Kandil, who arrived here yesterday on a two-day official visit with a personal message for the Premier from President Hosni Mubarak, the Director General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, David Kimche, unleased a scathing attack on Egypt during a symposium in Tel Aviv last night where he and Kandil both spoke.

According to Kimche, Egypt has failed to honor almost all of the terms of its 1979 peace treaty with Israel and the Egyptian press continues to publish scurrilous anti-Israel material.

MUBARAK’S MESSAGE TO PERES

Peres, who hosted Kandil at his home yesterday, told reporters that Mubarak, in his message, expressed willingness and readiness to move ahead in efforts to bring about peace talks between Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians.

Mubarak reported to Peres that King Hussein shared the desire for a comprehensive peace and that he, Mubarak, was trying to persuade the Palestine Liberation Organization to accept United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the framework for general Middle East peace talks for the past 18 years.

Mubarak also sent condolences to the families of the seven Israelis–four of them children — gunned down at Ras Burka, a beach in Eastern Sinai last month, Peres reported. As for Egypt’s investigation into the tragedy, Peres said Mubarak’s message contained what he considered a fairly detailed interim report. It is not, however, the full report the Egyptians had promised would be forthcoming.

Peres went out of his way to demonstrate friendship with Egypt. Breaking protocol, he personally escorted the Egyptian minister to his car after their meeting at the Prime Minister’s home.

Kimche was in quite a different mood at a symposium on Israeli-Egyptian relations organized by Tel Aviv University’s Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies to mark the eighth anniversary of President Anwar Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem.

FOREIGN MINISTRY OFFICIAL FLAYS EGYPT

The top-ranking Foreign Ministry official is to go to Cairo next week with a high-level Israeli delegation for a discussion of outstanding issues between the two countries. He said Israel would propose that the autonomy talks provided for by the Camp David accords be resumed after years in limbo. However, the burden of his speech was that Egypt is not living up to its peace treaty obligations.

“There is no cultural relationship, no trade to speak of, no political dialogue, no Egyptian tourists, no scientific or technological cooperation. In fact, very little of anything characterizes our relations today,” he charged. Kimche called on Egypt to halt what he called a “dangerous deterioration” in relations which would have “terrible consequences.” He accused the Egyptian press of mounting vicious, scurrilous attacks on Israel and charged that the Cairo government muzzled Israel’s Ambassador there, not allowing him to speak in public.

“Instead of marching forward to normal peaceful relations, Egypt is doing exactly the opposite and I fear that instead of marching forward to greater cooperation and understanding, we are in fact sliding down hill, ” Kimche said.

EGYPT PRESSURING PLO TO RENOUNCE TERRORISM

Kandil told the symposium of Egypt’s efforts to persuade the PLO to renounce terrorism and accept the pertinent UN resolutions. He said Egypt believes the PLO is not as bad as other Palestinian organizations.

“We are trying to get them to put their case in a dignified way,” he said. As for the return of Egypt’s Ambassador to Israel, recalled in 1982 during the Lebanon war, Kandil said that would depend on the forthcoming talks between the two countries in Cairo next week. He said the talks would cover normalization of relations and ways to resolve the Taba border dispute.

According to Kandil, the outstanding issue is the process of finding a solution to the problems between the two countries. He said he was confident they would be sorted out and that relations would be strengthened.

One of Kandil’s first acts after his arrival yesterday was to pay a condolence call on the family of Dinah Berri, one of two 12-year-old girls killed in the Ras Burka shooting. He had planned also to visit the family of another young victim, Amir Baum, 10. He cancelled when he learned that the Baums live in the Ramot quarter of Jerusalem, built on land captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War which no Arab state recognizes as part of Israel.

NEXT STORY