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No Sign of Progress on Taba Talks Between Israel and Egypt

March 7, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The latest round of talks between Israel and Egypt over the disputed area of Taba ended last Thursday night with little sign of progress.

The two sides, together with a delegation representing the United States, discussed the interim arrangement to be applied in the area pending final determination of the boundary demarcation, as well as procedural measures for settling the dispute.

“The meetings were conducted in a friendly and pragmatic atmosphere,” read a joint statement issued at the conclusion of the final session “with all delegations agreeing on the need to make positive progress and achieve tangible results in the shortest time possible.”

But Egypt’s chief delegate, Shafie Abdel Hamid, said earlier that even efforts to define the points of agreement and disagreement had “failed to achieve satisfactory progress,” and the final session concluded with no fixed date for resuming the discussion.


According to the statement, consultations with the multinational force and observers (MNF) in Sinai on a potential role for the force in Taba will take place sometime before the end of the month. The two sides said they had also agreed to begin negotiations on the procedural measures for settling the border dispute “at an early date.”

The peace treaty between Israel and Egypt stipulates that boundary disputes should be submitted to mediation and finally arbitration, if the two sides fail to negotiate a resolution by themselves. Egypt is reportedly in favor of proceeding directly to arbitration.

The two sides also appeared to remain far apart on the question of implementing the temporary agreement on the status of Taba, concluded between Israel and Egypt last April to define the area’s status pending a final settlement.

Abdel Hamid said his country had demanded that the agreement be “adhered to in full.” But interpretations of the agreement differ, with Egypt maintaining that operation of the recently opened Avia Sonesta Hotel in the disputed zone violates the accord and that security should be in the hands of the MNF.


Despite the apparent lack of progress in the talks last week, the renewed contacts between Egypt and Israel suggest the beginning of a break in the long lull in substantive diplomatic activity which set in when Egypt brought the normalization process to a virtual halt following the outbreak of the war in Lebanon and the massacres of Palestinians in Beirut last September.

Discussions on trade relations are expected to take place sometime this week, and Israel has been invited to participate in the international trade fair to be held in Cairo at the end of the month, Israel was not invited to the annual International Book Fair which took place here at the end of January.

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