TEL AVIV (Jan. 29)
The Egyptian flag will be raised alongside the Israeli flag Monday on a hilltop overlooking Taba, the Egyptian government announced Sunday.
But it will not signify Egypt’s takeover of the beach enclave outside Eilat, which is still the subject of negotiations between Israel and Egypt.
Foreign Minister Moshe Arens informed the Egyptian ambassador that the Israeli government agreed to the flag-raising ceremony as a goodwill gesture.
Israelis hope this will improve the atmosphere of the talks now going on between the two countries to resolve the final issues in the Taba dispute, sources said.
Taba was awarded to Egypt by international arbitration last year, and its future ownership therefore is settled.
But Israeli and Egyptian negotiating teams have been meeting for more than a week at Taba to resolve such matters as access to the beach for Israelis, customs inspection, currency and police jurisdiction.
They must also agree on the location of the last 185 yards of boundary, an issue that the arbitration process left open. The boundary line runs to the edge of the sea from border marker 91, the last put in place by the Israeli and Egyptian teams.
The Egyptian flag will be raised at marker 91.
Separate negotiations are under way for Egypt’s purchase of the Avia Sonesta Hotel and the Rafi Nelson Vacation Village, tourist resorts that are Taba’s only tangible assets.
The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism was instructed to negotiate with the Israeli owners.