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U.S. Pleased by Israel’s and Egypt’s Determination to Move the Peace Process Forward

October 27, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The State Department expressed satisfaction today with the announcement in Jerusalem that Egypt and Israel have agreed to speed up the autonomy negotiations at the ministerial level. But it rejected a call by Premier Menachem Begin and Foreign Minister Kamal Hassan Ali of Egypt for the U.S. to upgrade its representation at the autonomy talks.

“We are very pleased” by the announcement, State Department spokesman Dean Fischer said. He observed that it was an “indication of their (Israel and Egypt) determination to move the process forward.” But Fischer said that when the talks are held in Cairo on November 3-4, the senior U.S. representatives will continue to be the American Ambassadors to Israel and Egypt, Samuel Lewis and Alfred Atherton.

Fischer noted that, as President Reagan and Secretary of State Alexander Haig have said in the past, the U.S. will, from time to time, “reassess the level of representation” and will upgrade it when it considers that will be “useful.”

The Reagan Administration has refused so far to name a special envoy for the autonomy negotiations as the Carter Administration did in the persons first of Robert Strauss later Sol Linowitz, both with the status of special ambassador. Linowitz however is believed to be advising the State Department on the autonomy talks.

Fischer also rejected a proposal by former Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin that in order to move the talks forward, President Reagan would have to initiate a summit meeting with Begin and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. He said such a recommendation is “premature and hypothetical” and that the U.S. is at present “not dissatisfied with the pace of the talks.”


On another issue, Fischer rejected the call yesterday by Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou for the U.S. to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization in order to achieve progress toward a Middle East peace.

He reiterated the U.S. position not to deal with the PLO until it accepts Israel’s right to exist and UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. Fischer looked askance at Papandreou’s announced intention to grant the PLO office in Athens diplomatic status. He noted that Papandreou intends to do this when he hosts PLO chief Yasir Araft and remarked that any “enhanced status” for the PLO would “not advance the cause of peace in the Middle East.”

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