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U.S. Mounting a ‘new Initiative’ Against Boycott, Eagleburger Says

The United States is launching “a new initiative” to urge Arab states to end their economic boycott of Israel, acting Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger has told the American Jewish leadership.

The United States also will continue its efforts with the European Community to roll back “this anachronistic barrier to commerce and travel in the Middle East,” Eagleburger told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in an Oct. 1 letter made public Sunday.

Eagleburger was responding to a request from the conference urging the Bush administration to call publicly for suspension of the boycott.

“We now believe the time has come for a renewed effort to lift the boycott,” he wrote. The boycott, he said, is “inconsistent with the spirit of the Middle East peace talks and recent policy changes by Israel, “which should be reciprocated” by the Arabs.

The policy changes he cited included the cancellation of the construction of more than 7,000 housing units in the administered territories.

Eagleburger’s promise was welcomed by Shoshana Cardin, chairman of the Conference of Presidents, who said it was consistent with the assurances White House Chief of Staff James Baker gave to the group at a Sept. 24 meeting in his office.

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