WASHINGTON (Oct. 1)
Secretary of State George Shultz said Thursday that he hopes to find the “key” to progress in the Middle East peace process during his upcoming visit to the region.
“Everybody wants to move it (the peace process), and yet we can’t seem to figure out the key to get it going,” Shultz said on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America.” “So I’m going to look around and see if I can find a key.”
The Secretary denied that he will be bringing any “dramatic” proposals when he visits Israel, Jordan and Egypt on his way to the Soviet Union this month.
“I think sometimes when you sit down and really visit with people and try to find out what is bothering them, and what they really want to get, and sort of talk through that, and look at the full range of objectives that they have, that sometimes you can find a way,” he said.
Shultz rejected a suggestion that he plans to put “pressure” on Israeli Premier Yitzhak Shamir to drop his objections to an international conference as a means to bringing about direct negotiations between Israel and the Arabs.
“It’s not a question of pressure,” he stressed. “It’s a question of what’s the problem, and how do we solve the problem. And we want to do it together with all of the leaders there.”
At the same time, the Secretary seemed to caution against expecting any immediate results from his Mideast trip. “You can’t be optimistic with the long time it takes,” he said. “But you just have to keep working on small probabilities in the hope that sometime you’ll break through.”
Shultz indicated he hopes to also go to Saudi Arabia, although the State Department later could not confirm that Riyadh is on his itinerary. The Secretary noted that he plans to meet with Shamir and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, King Hussein of Jordan, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and “I hope (Saudi) King Fahd.”