WASHINGTON (May. 16)
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres is scheduled to meet President Reagan at the White House Tuesday with the moribund Middle East peace process expected to be high on the agenda.
But most of Peres’ meetings during his two days in Washington will be with Secretary of State George Shultz, with whom he met for 90 minutes after his arrival here early Monday. “They discussed a range of bilateral issues, including the peace process.” State Department spokesman Charles Redman reported later.
Peres and Shultz will meet again before the White House meeting Tuesday, which will be followed by a working lunch at the State Department between the two statesmen. Shultz was also expected to attend a reception for Peres on Monday at the home of Israeli Ambassador Moshe Arad.
The talks come as Shultz plans for his return trip to the Middle East on June 3, after the Moscow summit, when he will try again to win support for his peace initiative.
Peres and his Labor Party supports the initiative, which is opposed by Premier Yitzhak Shamir and Likud. With the government of national unity therefore divided and unable to give the United States either a flat “no” or “yes” to the Shultz proposals, the issue is expected to be a major point of contention in the upcoming Knesset elections.
The peace process also was expected to be high on the agenda during Peres’ meetings with the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs committees, which were scheduled for Monday afternoon. Peres also was to address the banquet of the 29th annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Monday night.
STOPS IN LOS ANGELES, OTHER CITIES
The Israeli foreign minister made stops in Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles over the weekend and is scheduled to return Wednesday to New York.
There he is to address the State of Israel Bonds Organization and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. He is also scheduled to speak Thursday at the Jewish Theological Seminary’s commencement ceremonies.
In Los Angeles, Peres toured the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Holocaust Museum and addressed a crowd of Jewish community leaders there. Speaking about the situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Peres said “Israel has never been stronger” despite the difficulties there.
“We don’t seek peace because somebody throws stones. We don’t seek peace because we are afraid. We don’t seek peace because the Arabs want land,” he said. “We seek peace because we want peace and because we feel we can achieve it. And we shall achieve it.”
Speaking earlier at a breakfast meeting for Jewish community leaders. Peres criticized China’s recent sale of missiles to Saudi Arabia. The Jewish state, he said, is opposed to any nation “which provides weapons in a state of belligerency against Israel.”