Egypt Accepts Five-point Plan for Israeli-palestinian Talks

Egypt has accepted the five-point U.S. proposal for starting a dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians, the State Department announced Wednesday.

Egypt’s acceptance, which follows Israel’s approval of the proposal on Nov. 5, clears the way for the State Department to arrange a meeting in Washington that will include Secretary of State James Baker, Egyptian Foreign Minister Esmat Abdel Meguid and Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Arens.

Department spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler would not comment directly Wednesday on whether Egypt had secured the Palestine Liberation Organization’s approval of the U.S. plan.

But she said it was “quite obvious” that the Egyptians “have been talking to the Palestinians.”

A meeting in Washington of the three foreign ministers was the only one of the five points contained in the U.S. plan that the State Department had confirmed publicly until Wednesday, when it released the full text of the proposal.

Asked if there are issues of substance that must be resolved before the trilateral meeting, Tutwiler said, “Not necessarily.”

But she said that Egypt’s “positive response,” like the Israeli acceptance, contains additional assumptions.

“In their responses, both Egypt and Israel have conveyed certain views and positions on this process. We will be working with the parties on steps needed to get to a trilateral meeting in Washington,” she said.

Tutwiler said the Washington meeting could not be scheduled until early in 1990, mainly because Baker is going to Europe next week and because of the holiday season.

Following is the text of the five-point plan:

“1. The United States understands that because Egypt and Israel have been working hard on the peace process, there is agreement that an Israeli delegation should conduct a dialogue with a Palestinian delegation in Cairo.

“2. The United States understands that Egypt cannot substitute itself for the Palestinians, and Egypt will consult with Palestinians on all aspects of that dialogue. Egypt will also consult with Israel and the United States.

“3. The United States understands that Israel will attend the dialogue only after a satisfactory list of Palestinians has been worked out.

“4. The United States understands that the government of Israel will come to the dialogue on the basis of the Israeli government’s May 14 initiative. The United States further understands that Palestinians will come to the dialogue prepared to discuss elections and the negotiating process, in accordance with Israel’s initiative. The U.S. understands, therefore, that Palestinians would be free to raise issues that relate to their opinions on how to make elections and the negotiating process succeed.

“5. In order to facilitate this process, the U.S. proposes that the foreign ministers of Israel, Egypt and the U.S. meet in Washington within two weeks.”

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