Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Gaston Thom, current chairman of the European Economic Community’s (EEC) Council of Ministers, is due in Israel for a short visit later this week as part of the EEC’s study mission to the Middle East. The Cabinet today gave its approval to Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir’s recommendation that Israel receive Thorn with all due courtesies.
Unofficial sources said Thorn would be here for only 24 hours, though apparently the details of his schedule are not yet completed. It is not yet known whether he will meet with Premier Menachem Begin (who is to return to his desk Tuesday).
EEC sources here say Thorn intends to visit Israel once again, later in the summer, after visiting several of the Arab countries and meeting with their leaders, as well as with the Palestine Liberation Organization leadership. He will submit an interim report before the United Nations General Assembly convenes in the third week of September.
NO FORMAL CONDITIONS FOR VISIT
Deputy Cabinet Secretary Michael Nir said Israel had not posed any formal conditions to Thom’s visit. Shamir had made it clear at Cabinet, however, that he and other Israeli leaders would reiterate to Thorn in forceful terms Israel’s rejection of the EEC’s Venice declaration of June, which set up his fact-finding mission. That declaration also called for the PLO to be “associated” with the peace negotiations.
Shamir has said in public statements since June 15 that for Israel the Venice declaration is “not a basis for discussion.” Other officials have said that the dialogue with the EEC mission, therefore, must be based on a broader foundation than the Venice declaration.
Israeli sources say privately that the EEC, in informing Israel of Thorn’s desire to come here this week, took account of Israel’s attitude to the Venice declaration, and couched the “terms of reference” of his mission in broad terms which Israel could accept.
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