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British, German Officials Disappointed with Failure of Eec to Agree to Text on Sinal Force

November 19, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

British and German officials have expressed deep disappointment over the failure so far of the 10 member states of the European Economic Community (EEC) to agree on the text of a declaration approving the participation by member states in the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) which is to patrol Sinai after Israel completes its withdrawal next April. The U.S. will provide the bulk of the 2,500-man force.

The declaration requires unanimity. But Greece, the newest member of the EEC, remains opposed to the formula proposed by the other nine EEC partners which would refer to the Camp David agreements in one part and to other documents, such as the EEC’s 1980 Venice declaration on the Mideast, in another. The new Greek government headed by Socialist Premier Andreas Papandreou supports the Venice declaration but is opposed to the Camp David accords. The Venice declaration calls for the association of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the peace process.

Israel has said it would disqualify any country from participation in the MFO that does so on the

basis of any formula other than Camp David. Britain, France, Italy and Holland have indicated a willingness to provide units for the Sinai force but official commitments depend on EEC approval.

British and German officials, meeting here in the course of the regular Anglo-German consultations, said a new round of consultations with Israel and the U.S. would be necessary if Greece does not drop its opposition. They said another attempt would be made to convince the Greeks to accept a formula containing references to Camp David. “If this does not produce the desired results, new ways will be explored,” a British diplomat said.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Britain and Chancellor Helmut Schmidt of West Germany conferred on the matter today. Both leaders were said to strongly support European participation in the MFO although West Germany itself would not send troops to the region for historical and constitutional reasons. Schmidt praised British Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington for his initiatives in various parts of the world, including the Middle East. Carrington supports Saudi Arabia’s eight-point plan which Israel has categorically rejected.

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