NEW YORK (Sep. 27)
President Reagan met with the foreign ministers of Israel and Egypt on Monday during the first joint high-level meeting of the three countries since the beginning of his administration.
The largely symbolic meeting, planned as a commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Camp David accords, came soon after Reagan gave his last address as president before the United Nations General Assembly.
Reagan and Secretary of State George Shultz met with Israel’s Shimon Peres and Egypt’s Esmat Abdel Meguid for 45 minutes at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York.
Reporters were briefed after the meeting on the leaders’ remarks by Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Moshe Arad. He reported no diplomatic breakthroughs.
Reagan said he was proud of the 10-year-old peace between Egypt and Israel. He and Shultz said the United States would continue to seek to broaden the peace process in the Middle East, based on U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, which call for the return of Arab lands and recognition of Israel.
Peres welcomed the Americans’ role in standing by the Camp David accords, and praised Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for “staying faithful to the process.”
Meguid said his country looked forward to an end to violence throughout the Middle East.
PARTITION PLAN REVIVAL
In response to a question by Reagan about the intentions of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Meguid said he sensed a feeling of realism during recent meetings with PLO leader Yasir Arafat.
Arafat has said he is ready to recognize Israel’s right to exist, but faces pressure from other factions within the PLO, Meguid said.
He also said Arafat is willing to consider the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan, calling for separate Jewish and Palestinian states, as a “birth certificate” of a Palestinian state and not as a blueprint for redrawing Israel’s borders. The plan was rejected at the time by Arab leaders and has little appeal to Israelis today.
Peres said Israel is not prepared to accept a Palestinian state as a basis for negotiations, and that few are prepared to take Arafat’s professed desire for peace seriously, based on the PLO’s terrorist tactics.
“The problem is not the sweetness of his words, but the bitterness of the violence,” he said.
The leaders attended a reception Monday evening at the Waldorf-Astoria in honor of U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar.
INTRODUCED TO JORDANIAN
According to Ambassador Arad, Shultz introduced Peres to Jordanian Foreign Minister Taher al-Masri, who was at the reception. Peres also spoke briefly with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, Arad said.
The Israeli foreign minister is scheduled to meet formally with Shevardnadze on Thursday.
Peres also planned to meet Tuesday with the foreign ministers of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. A meeting with Japan’s foreign minister was canceled.
In his address to the General Assembly, Reagan called on the United Nations to press human rights issues in the Soviet Union, among other countries.
He said the United Nations should be “relentless and unyielding” in seeking compliance to the 40-year-old Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
To that end, he said, “we must also see to it that the Universal Declaration itself should not be debased with episodes like the ‘Zionism is racism’ resolution,” adopted by the United Nations in 1975.
The president also said refuseniks he met with in Moscow told him that human rights groups “make a difference.”