LONDON (Jan. 23)
Premier Shimon Peres of Israel proposed yesterday that the economically advanced and industrial nations of the world give impetus to the Middle East peace process by backing a new “Marshall Plan.”
Addressing the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House, the Israeli leader urged the U.S., Europe and some nations of the Middle East to enlist in such a venture. If the cause of peace is to be furthered, then the infrastructure and industrial base of the countries involved must be broadened, he said, adding that the project should be launched even before the region’s political problems are solved.
The Marshall Plan, initiated by Secretary of State George Marshall in the immediate aftermath of World War 11, saw the U.S. contribute some $13 billion toward the physical and economic reconstruction of a Europe devastated by six years of war. It is largely credited with the economic revival of the West European nations and stemming the advance of Communism. The U.S. currently provides about $5 billion a year in economic and military assistance to Egypt and Israel.
Peres, in his address, warned the Palestinian people that they have to choose between violence and a commitment to peaceful dialogue. He vowed that Israel will never negotiate with the Palestine Liberation Organization but noted that there are many responsible Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip who could join King Hussein of Jordan “on the journey to peace and the negotiating table.”
CITES ‘A LITTLE BIT’ OF PROGRESS
Interviewed in London by the NBC-TV “Today” program this morning, Peres said he thought he and Hussein have made “a little bit” of progress toward direct negotiations through the mediation of a U.S. official. He was referring to Richard Murphy, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, with whom Peres conferred in Holland Sunday and again in London Tuesday night. Murphy had met with Hussein in London Saturday.
The Jordanian ruler left Britain several hours before Peres arrived. Peres told NBC he believed Hussein would seek alternatives to PLO participation in the peace process if he fails in one last try to persuade PLO chief Yasir Arafat to accept the conditions necessary for a PLO role in peace talks. He said the conditions were renunciation of terrorism, recognition of Israel’s right to exist and direct negotiations with Israel. “Until now Arafat is escaping a decision, he is very evasive,” Peres said.
Peres met with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher yesterday. Prior to that he held an hour-long meeting with Foreign Secretary Sir Geoffrey Howe, who told him that Britain would participate in an international forum leading to direct peace negotiations in the Middle East if the right formula can be found.