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Shamir Planning a Stop in Paris to Head off E.c. Moves in Mideast

November 7, 1989
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir of Israel is planning intensive diplomatic lobbying in Paris and Rome on his way home from the United States later this month, in the hope of heading off new European involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Shamir plans to arrive in Paris on Nov. 21 for talks with President Francois Mitterrand and key ministers of the European Community. He will stop in Rome to meet with Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti before returning to Israel.

Shamir’s objective is to convince the 12 nation E.C. to stand back and give the current American-supported Israeli peace initiative a chance to produce results.

Shamir will probably have a chance to meet with the E.C.’s so-called “troika,” the three foreign ministers assigned specifically to monitor the Middle East situation.

They are the incumbent chairman of the E.C. Council of Ministers, an office which rotates every six months, his immediate predecessor and the minister who will succeed him. At present these are, respectively, the foreign ministers of France, Spain and Ireland.

The “troika” is scheduled to meet with Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasir Arafat in Tunisia on Nov. 11 and with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in Cairo on Nov. 13.

They will have the Palestinian position fresh in mind therefore when they confer with Shamir in Paris.

The Israeli prime minister, however, will be bolstered by his expected meeting with President Bush at the While House, probably on Nov. 16.


The “troika” will be drafting recommendations for a European summit conference to be held in Strasbourg, France, from Dec. 7 to 9. Strasbourg is the seat of the European Parliament, the E.C.’s legislative body.

The summit can decide to stick to a passive role on the Middle East, as it has in the past, or become actively involved in the search for a solution.

Israel fears European activism in that area would be to its disadvantage. The 12-nation E.C. is in a position to exert severe pressure, as it is Israel’s main trading partner.

European Commissioner Jacques Delors pointedly warned Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Arens, at a meeting in Brussels last month, that the E.C.’s economic relations with Israel and the search for a political solution of the Middle East conflict “are intimately connected.”

The summit may also decide whether to revive the long-moribund Euro-Arab dialogue. Mitterrand last month proposed convening an E.C. meeting in December with the Arab League and the PLO.

In view of the directions the E.C. is headed, and its growing influence in the economic sphere, Shamir’s planned talk with Mitterrand is being described here as crucial.

The Israeli prime minister can take little comfort from Mitterrand’s speech to the European Parliament last month, in which he condemned Israel’s behavior in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the harshest terms and insisted on the PLO’s participation in all phases of the peace process.

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