PARIS (Jan. 10)
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir will pay an official visit to France next month at the invitation of President Francois Mitterrand, it was announced here Tuesday.
Mitterrand, who aspires to play a peacemaking role in the Middle East, extended the invitation during an hour-long meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Arens at the Elysee Palace Tuesday morning.
The meeting was the last of Arens’ four-day visit here. During his stay, the Israeli diplomat met with the foreign ministers of the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, a half dozen Western European countries and with U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz.
All were attending an international conference on the proliferation of chemical weapons.
Arens also conferred twice with the foreign minister of Egypt, Esmat Abdel Meguid.
After their second meeting, a 90-minute breakfast session at the Egyptian’s hotel Tuesday, Meguid said he might visit Israel to continue their consultations. No date was set.
Both ministers described their talks as “very friendly,” in spite of basic differences.
The two spoke privately, without aides or translators. They did not apparently discuss the possibility of a summit meeting between Shamir and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt.
TABA DISPUTE DISCUSSED
They did, however, review the current situation in the Middle East and discuss the Taba settlement, over which Israel and Egypt still have to agree on certain details.
Taba, a disputed strip of beach near Eilat, was awarded to Egypt by an international arbitration panel last year.
Roni Sobel and Nabil el-Arabi, the legal advisers to the Israeli and Egyptian foreign ministries respectively, are meeting in Paris on the remaining issues, but have failed so far to reach agreement.
Egyptian sources told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the sticking point is Israel’s insistence in retaining part ownership of the Sonesta Hotel, a resort built by Israelis and its demand that Israelis have access to Taba without passports or visas.
According to the Egyptians, this solution seems “out of the question” right now and will have to be reviewed at a higher ministerial level.
Israelis said meetings between the two sides will be resumed in the near future.
Arens made it clear to Meguid that a favorable resolution of the remaining Taba issues would benefit the peace process and Israeli-Egyptian relations. He also stressed that Israel is in the process of developing its own peace plan.