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Egypt Wants to Wait Until After Israel’s Elections Next June to Resume the Autonomy Talks

March 16, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Foreign Minister Butros Ghali of Egypt said his government preferred to wait until after Israel’s elections June 30 to resume the autonomy talks but insisted that it had no preference between a Likud or Labor government as the negotiating partner.

In an interview on Israel Radio over the weekend, Ghali explained that Egypt did not want to interfere in Israel’s election campaign and therefore the negotiations for autonomy on the West Bank and Gaza Strip should better be left until after Israelis have gone to the polls.

With respect to suggestions that Cairo might prefer to negotiate with a Labor-led regime, Ghali said, ” Why all this speculation that A is better than B or B is better than A? We are negotiating with the Israel government as such. But why negotiate with a government which may not be in power in a few months?”

Ghali repeated Egypt’s complaint that Israel is not doing enough to improve the political climate between the two countries to further an agreement on the Palestinian issue.” It is not so much the details but the new atmosphere on the West Bank and Gaza,” he said.

” Unfortunately, what has happened has led to a completely new atmosphere since we began these negotiations. Certainly, the establishment of settlements, closing universities, putting people in prison, having curfews on Arab cities creates an atmosphere which will never encourage the Palestinians to put hope in the future. “

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