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Muskje Says Resolution Shows ‘restraint’

June 16, 1980
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The “Declaration of Venice” by the nine-nation European Economic Community Friday was seen here as enabling Egypt to make greater demands on Israel in the West Bank-Gaza autonomy talks than had been envisioned in the Camp David accords, and as putting the Palestinian Arabs in the position to reject any agreement Egypt, Israel and the United States might make under the accords.

While opposing the European how to the Palestine Liberation Organization, Secretary of State Edmund Muskie praised the West European countries Friday for “showing a sense of restraint.” In effect, Muskie indicated the declaration was something the United States could live with, even though it differed with United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, that underpin the accords.

Israel’s Ambassador, Ephraim Evron, said that the declaration damages the prospects for Mideast peace and that “Israel will never negotiate with an organization bent on its destruction.”

Evron added that the declaration “is a bad compromise between different attitudes and opinions and is contrary to Israel’s positions regarding continuation of the peace process.” He added that it “does not contribute to the peace process in the Middle East and does not take into account the great achievements already made. “Evron made the comments in remarks Friday night to newsmen.

By his news conference statements, Muskie accepted the declaration conditionally. Israel rejected it out of hand. The West Europeans moved away from the U.S. view and closer to the Soviet view regarding both the PLO and a Palestinian state. The PLO expressed disappointment that it was not formally recognized but this expression was seen by observers as merely masking satisfaction for its diplomatic success by being included in the European declaration and a prelude to more gains later. This was indicated in reports here from Damascus.


To say the declaration could have been worse as some U.S. officials put it, was regarded by observers as small comfort to friends of Israel. They are now looking to the reaction of Jordan’s King Hussein; who sees President Carter here this week, for the effects of the declaration on so-called moderate Arab leaders.

Muskie’s view of the PLO re-stated the U.S. position but in terms that appeared stronger than previously made by a senior Carter Administration official. Muskie said “we have to consider what the parties’ position is, and the PLO’s position is that it is not interested in a negotiated agreement with Israel. It is interested only in Israel’s extinction. That being the case, then how do you invite the PLO into negotiations aimed at assuring Israel’s survival?”

He added that “before you can negotiate with them, they have to abandon that point of view.”

After Muskie made his remarks Friday, State Department officials informed some reporters privately that Muskie’s statement was not to be seen as a harder U.S. position against the PLO.

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