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Taba Talks to Resume Next Month

May 13, 1986
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Israel and Egypt will resume their talks on the Taba border dispute here next week after a hiatus of more than a month. Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir said Monday that he hoped the Egyptians would soften their position because Israel has reached the limits of the concessions it is prepared to make.

Israel has agreed, reluctantly, to Egypt’s insistence that the dispute be put to binding arbitration, though without abandoning attempts at conciliation. Both processes are allowed by the terms of the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. But the two sides have been unable to agree on the terms of reference to be submitted to the arbitration panel.

Shamir, speaking to political correspondents here, expressed hope that Israel and Poland would shortly establish offices in each other’s countries. He did not comment on a recent flurry of rumors that there might be some level of diplomatic relations with Warsaw.

He responded equivocally to reports that Minister-Without-Portfolio Ezer Weizman has reached an understanding with Premier Shimon Peres that he would be appointed Minister of Sate at the Foreign Ministry after the rotation of power next October 14 when Peres will switch portfolios with Shamir. Shamir said the terms of the Labor-Likud coalition agreement would have to be examined to see if they are compatible with such an appointment for Weizman.

Shamir said he would not oppose it if Weizman protected Israel’s interests with the same zeal that Butros Ghali, Egypt’s Minister of State, defends the interests of his country.

Weizman, who was Defense Minister in the Likud-led government during the period of the Camp David accords and the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, developed close ties with Egyptian leaders and has been in the forefront of promoting amity between the two countries.

After resigning from Likud in a dispute over policy, he formed his own party, Yahad, which is presently aligned with the Labor Party. He has frequently been criticized by Likud hardliners for being too “soft” with the Egyptians.

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