Netanyahu Recommends Israel Refrain from Dialogue Pending Clarifications

Deputy Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday he would recommend to Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir that Israel suspend its negotiations with the United States on peace diplomacy, pending a clarification of U.S. attitudes.

Netanyahu, who just returned from Washington, told a television interviewer that he left the U.S. capital “with a heavy heart” because there was a “complete lack of understanding for Israel’s position” at the State Department.

He said he would advise Shamir not to agree to have Foreign Minister Moshe Arens attend a tripartite meeting with U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and Egyptian Foreign Minister Esmat Abdel Meguid to discuss an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.

Netanyahu, Israel’s former U.N. ambassador who is considered a rising star in Likud, insisted that all diplomatic moves should be put on hold until Israel receives specific replies from Washington to specific questions.

He said he had pointed out in Washington that Israel’s main interest at present is holding free elections in the West Bank without the threat of assassinations.

“This is precisely the U.S. interest throughout the world: in Nicaragua, where thousands of American observers were sent to ensure a free vote, and in Panama, where the United States sent its troops for the same purpose,” Netanyahu said.

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