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Egypt Congratulates Shamir on Assuming the Premiership

Egypt has congratulated Premier Yitzhak Shamir on the assumption of his new office. A letter Monday from Egyptian Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Esmet Abdel Meguid wished the Israeli leader good health and success and expressed hoped that the “progress made so far between Egypt and Israel will be a solid basis for a comprehensive peace to encompass all the partners in the area.”

The message arrived a week after similar good wishes were extended by Cairo to outgoing Premier Shimon Peres who took office as Vice Premier and Foreign Minister after the rotation of power in Israel’s unity coalition government. Observers here said the time lag reflected Egypt’s doubts about Shamir, given Likud’s hardline policies on the Palestinian issue.

But Shamir himself, it was reported from reliable sources, expects a marked improvement in bilateral relations between Israel and Egypt once arbitration of their Taba border dispute gets underway in Geneva in December.

The Premier had what he considered a productive meeting with Meguid at the United Nations in New York last month, when he was Israel’s Foreign Minister. According to these sources, he expects normalization to improve significantly once the arbitration process begins.

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