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Israel to Seek ‘clarifications’ from European Nations Concerning Their Participation in the Sinai Fo

January 20, 1982
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israel is expected to ask for “clarifications” of nearly identical letters received from Britain, France, Italy and Holland last week reiterating their willingness to participate in the Sinai peacekeeping force. Israel wants the four powers to make clearer the distinction between the terms of their participation and their earlier statements which referred to the European Economic Community’s (EEC) 1980 Venice declaration.

Secretary of State Alexander Haig reportedly urged Israel to accept the four powers’ letters during his visit here last week. Israeli officials acknowledged today that the delay in doing this stemmed from certain reservations still held by Israel. The Venice declaration was unacceptable because it called for association of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the Mideast peace process.

Israel wants the European powers to acknowledge that the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in Sinai derives its mandate solely from the Camp David agreements and the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty before they join it.

Diplomatic contacts on this matter between Israel and the four European governments have been kept on a low key. The letters are regarded here as non-polemical, deliberately non-provocative and intended to make it easier for Israel to approve of their participation in the Sinai force. Premier Menachem Begin consulted with Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamis on the matter this morning. Officials denied that Begin took a tougher position than Shamir and said both men wanted clarifications.

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