NEW YORK (Sep. 30)
The peace process in the Mideast and the prospects for an international peace conference was the key topic in an hour-long meeting Wednesday morning between Israel’s Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz. The meeting was held at the United Nations Plaza Hotel here across from the UN, where both officials were attending the General Assembly.
“We discussed the upcoming visit of Shultz to the Mideast,” Peres said after the meeting. “I told the Secretary that I am glad that his trip to Israel takes place prior to his visit to Moscow, where we would like him to discuss with the Soviets the Mideast peace process and the issue of Soviet Jews.”
Shultz is expected to visit Israel, Jordan and Egypt, in that order, starting Oct. 16. He is scheduled to arrive in Moscow Oct. 22. In Israel he will receive honorary doctorates from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot and Tel Aviv University.
Peres said that he also raised with Shultz the Administration’s intention to sell new American arms to Saudi Arabia. The Foreign Minister said he told Shultz that Israel will not change its mind and will continue to oppose the sale of arms to the Saudis. Shultz responded, according to Peres’ aides who participated in the meeting, that the proposed arms sale to the Saudis should be seen as part of the Administration’s efforts to strengthen U.S. interest and influence in the Persian Gulf region.
The two officials also discussed ways to help Israel’s aviation industry following the Israeli government’s decision to scrap the Lavi jet fighter project. According to Peres’ aides, Shultz and Peres touched on the issue of finding new employment for the thousands of workers who lost their jobs as a result of scrapping the Lavi project.
Peres also met Wednesday late afternoon with Chinese Foreign Minister Wu Xuegian and Egyptian Foreign Minister Abdel Esmat Meguid. The meeting with the Chinese official is the first-ever open meeting between Israel’s and China’s Foreign Ministers.