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Egyptian Foreign Minister Still Hoping for a European Initiative

January 4, 1982
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Egypt’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Boutros Ghali, said in an interview published here that his country is still hoping for a European initiative in the Middle East, but it should be coordinated with American efforts. He told the daily, Le Monde, that the right moment for such an initiative might be after Israel completes the final stage of its withdrawal from Sinai April 26.

“We still ardently hope for a European initiative, provided it is coordinated — I stress — combined with U.S. efforts,” Ghali said. In any case, he added, “the Europeans may be more or less obliged to return to the Middle East debate because of their planned participation in the Sinai peacekeeping force.”

He said he would like to see Europe provide the lead to the Reagan Administration, “which is still finding its way in this region” over Middle East policy next spring. This could include trying to bring about talks between the Palestinians on one side and Israel and the U.S. on the other.

Ghali said he was sure Israel would complete the Sinai withdrawal on schedule, adding that if it does not, “the minute amount of international credibility which they have retained, in spite of excesses in Lebanon, Jerusalem and Golan, will disappear. I do not think they want to expose themselves to that risk.”

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