French Official is off to Mideast

Amid official denials that he is seeking to arrange an Israeli-Syrian summit, French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas will travel to Syria, Egypt and Israel over the weekend.

Political analysts believe that while the trip was not explicitly mandated by Jerusalem, Dumas is acting with the approval of the Israelis. He will meet with Syrian President Hafez Assad, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Dumas flew unexpectedly to Damascus last month to meet with Assad in a meeting that came two days after he held extensive consultations in Paris with visiting Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.

At the time, a Foreign Ministry spokesman in Jerusalem denied that Dumas had gone to Damascus at Peres’ request. Dumas himself has declined to elaborate on whether he had carried a message from or to the Israeli Cabinet.

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