WASHINGTON (Feb. 21)
Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Arens will meet here Friday with Secretary of State James Baker, as part of the continuing effort to try to arrange an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.
Arens, who is stopping here on the way back from a visit to Mexico, requested the meeting, State Department spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler said Wednesday.
She said that one of the topics discussed would be a continuation of the dialogue aimed at bringing about a meeting of Baker, Arens and Egyptian Foreign Minister Esmat Abdel Meguid to set the arrangements for Israeli-Palestinian talks in Cairo.
The three-way meeting was to have been held in January, but has been postponed because of differences between Israel and Egypt on the terms of the Israeli-Palestinian sesssion.
But a State Department source said that no breakthrough is expected at Friday’s meeting and that the talks will be a continuation of the conversations Baker and Arens have had over the telephone for the last three months.
Nevertheless, Baker is said to be interested in hearing an assessment of the situation in Israel, now that Likud hard-liner Ariel Sharon has resigned from the Cabinet.
Baker has taken a rest from the Middle East since the beginning of the Presidents Day holiday weekend, Tutwiler said, and has not had any of his normal long-distance phone calls with either Arens or Meguid.
But Robert Pelletreau, the U.S. ambassador in Tunis, met with a representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization on Wednesday. As has been the general practice, Tutwiler refused to give any details of the meeting.