The leaders of the 10 member states of the European Economic Community (EEC) have strongly endorsed the proposals by President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and the negotiating approach agreed to last February 11 by king Hussein of Jordan and Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat as important initiatives for a peaceful solution of the Middle East conflict which are worth encouraging.
The declaration issued here Saturday, at the end of a two-day EEC summit conference, stated that the member states reaffirm their conviction that a just and lasting solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict requires the participation and the concrete support of all of the interested parties, including the PLO.
The declaration called for peace negotiations under the auspices of an international conference in which the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council would participate together with all parties involved in the conflict. Within that framework, the PLO would be part of a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation, as Mubarak has suggested. That approach has been flatly rejected by Israel which refuses to have any contact with the PLO and insists on direct negotiations with Jordan.
Israel is strongly opposed in principle to an international conference which would bring the Soviet Union into the negotiating process. The U.S. supports the Israeli position with respect both to the USSR and the PLO.
EEC SEEKS TO ENCOURAGE PEACE ADVOCATES
Prime Minister Bettino Craxi of Italy, who currently holds the rotating presidency of the EEC, told a press conference after the summit meeting that it is Europe’s desire to encourage those who advocate a peaceful solution which respects the rights of all parties concerned. He said the 10 heads of state and heads of government who participated in the summit believe that no efforts should be spared to maintain and re-enforce the current movement in the peace process or to facilitate a dialogue between all parties to the conflict.
The EEC declaration acknowledged that the latest initiatives face some difficulties but said their direction is the right one and represents a glimmer of hope which must not be missed. Craxi said the EEC states, in their contacts with all parties concerned, would strive to close the gap between conflicting positions.
According to political observers, the latest EEC declaration was the clearest assertion to date that the Hussein-Arafat agreement is a good basis for negotiating a Middle East peace settlement. The declaration expressed appreciation to Mubarak for what it called his important initiatives.
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.