The State Department said today it was ready for an official reply from the Israeli government on the “ideas discussed” by Secretary of State Alexander Haig and Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir during a 7 ?? hour meeting at the State Department last Friday.
Department spokesman Dean Fischer said that he had only seen press reports about an Israeli Cabinet decision earlier today to approve a joint statement on the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) that had been worked out by Haig and Shamir. But he said the Department was waiting for the official Israeli notification.
Fischer would not speculate on whether West European silence on the joint statement would be considered by the United States and Israel as acceptance of it. Shamir was summoned to Washington last week after the State Department was informed by Israel that it was ready to reject the participation of Britain, France, Italy and The Netherlands in the MFO because of a statement the European countries had made in announcing their willingness to join the Sinai peacekeeping force.
The four European countries had said that they would join the Sinai force but still supported the European Economic Community’s Venice declaration of 1980 that calls for the participation of the
Palestine Liberation Organization in Middle East peace negotiations. Israel has demanded that all members of the force which will patrol the Sinai after Israel’s final withdrawal in April, do so only on the basis of support for the Camp David process.
HABIB CONFERRING WITH LEBANON’S LEADERS
Meanwhile, Fischer confirmed today that Philip Habib, President Reagan’s special envoy to the Middle East, is in Beirut and is conferring with Lebanese leaders. He said he could not give any information on the talks or Habib’s itinerary. He is expected to also visit Israel, Syria and Saudi Arabia.
Fischer said Friday that Habib, as usual, has asked that no details be given on his trip. The 61-year-old retired diplomat is in the Middle East to see how the U.S. can be helpful in reducing the tension in Lebanon and in improving the basic conditions in that country, particularly in restoring the authority of the central government of Lebanon over all of the country, Fischer said Friday.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.