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France Pledges Help in Achieving Mideast Peace to Visiting Peres

French President Francois Mitterrand backed Wednesday the need for a continuation of the peace process in the Middle East. Mitterrand, who conferred for an hour with Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres at the Elysee, is reported to have said that France will do whatever it can to help peace.

Peres earlier conferred with French Foreign Minister Jean Bernard Raymond. The French, diplomatic sources said, told Peres: “The Soviets are already in the Middle East. The main point is trying to influence their policies there.”

Peres had come to France as part of a four nation tour of Western Europe to obtain visible backing for his peace process which involves an international peace conference on the Middle East, a project hotly opposed by Premier Yitzhak Shamir and the Likud.

Peres is due to meet Thursday with Premier Jacques Chirac and will leave Friday for Switzerland for talks with Swiss President and Foreign Minister Pierre Aubert. He is due to meet Monday in Cologne with Chancellor Helmut Kohl of West Germany.

On Tuesday, Peres received that backing of British Premier Margaret Thatcher for an international conference as “the most practical way forward” to peace negotiations, official British sources said.

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