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>Israel Faxx
>PD Dec. 22, 1994, V2, #230

Weizman-Mubarak Meeting Concludes

By Laurie Kassman (Cairo)

Israeli President Ezer Weizman has returned to Israel after his first official visit to Egypt with the intent of warming relations with a country officially at peace with the Jewish state since 1979.

In a joint departure statement, President Hosni Mubarak and Weizman urged an all-out effort for comprehensive peace in the region. The statement refers to the current talks as a golden opportunity that should not be missed.

The Syrian track of the peace talks has been stalled over the timing and extent of an Israeli pullout from the Golan Heights. After his return to Israel, Weizman told reporters he was ready to go to Syria if would help.

Mubarak and the Israeli leader described the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli treaty as a shining example for others.

But 15 years of official peace still have not produced full normal relations. Weizman's trip was partly aimed at encouraging closer trade and cultural ties. But he did not win a hoped-for commitment from the Egyptian President to pay his first official visit to Israel.

Ha'aretz reported that Mubarak decided to postpone visiting Israel because he feels that a visit would further isolate Syrian President Hafez el-Assad. Mubarak told the newspaper that a visit to Israel might delay the Israeli-Syrian peace talks. The Egyptian president emphasized that this was the only reason for postponing his visit, adding that there has been meaningful improvement in Israeli-Egyptian relations. Mubarak also told the newspaper that he is very concerned about the spread of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism.

An IDF delegation will travel to Egypt in 10 days in order to search for the remains of 19 Israeli soldiers missing since the 1973 Yom Kippur war. The delegation's visit reportedly came as a result of Weizman's trip.

Peres: Israel Committed to Palestinian Peace

By Susan Sappir (Jerusalem)

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres says, after meeting with PLO leader Yasir Arafat in Gaza City, that Israel is committed to the Israeli-Palestinian peace accord.

PLO officials say they are reassured that Israel intends to implement the next phase of the peace accord--a withdrawal of Israeli troops from parts of the West Bank.

Under the 1993 peace agreement, the pullout, followed by Palestinian elections, should have been completed by last July. But after a series of attacks on Israelis, Israel has demanded that the Palestinians take measures to assure safety of Israelis first. The protracted delay has led Palestinians to doubt whether the West Bank withdrawal would proceed.

Arafat assured Peres that the Israeli concern over security would be taken into consideration. Peres, for his part, confirmed Israel's commitment to carrying out the peace agreement without modifications.

The Palestinians are eager for the pullout to succeed so they can hold elections, unhampered by Israeli troops in West Bank areas under Palestinian authority. Negotiations on the troop redeployment will resume in Cairo next month.

Israel and Syria Agree on Formula for Talks in Washington

IDF Major General Danny Yatom will reportedly be Israel's initial military representative to the informal Israeli-Syrian peace talks in Washington.

Government sources in Jerusalem said retiring IDF Chief of Staff Lt. General Ehud Barak may participate in the talks at a later stage. The sources added that Israeli and Syrian military officers will not hold direct discussions, but will instead meet separately with a panel consisting of Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. Itamar Rabinovich, Syrian Ambassador to Washington Walid Mualem and U.S. Special Middle East Coordinator Dennis Ross.

Israel grudgingly agreed to the conditions with the hope that the talks will eventually develop into a direct framework. A senior Israeli official in Washington called procedures for the talks "weird." Israel views Damascus' refusal to hold direct negotiations as a sign that Syria has not reached a decision to accelerate the negotiations.

Christopher meets with American Jewish leaders at White House

U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher met with leaders of the American Jewish community Wednesday at the White House to discuss the possibility of an Israeli withdrawal on the Golan Heights.

The meeting is part of an effort by the Clinton Administration to calm fears among American Jews about a future compromise on the Golan Heights.

The U.S. State Department's new directory now lists the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem under the heading of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, and within the section of the directory for Israel. A notation next to the entry states that the status of Jerusalem is yet to be determined. The alteration in the directory reportedly came at the urging of Senator Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY) who, along with moderate Republicans, is trying to pass legislation to move America's Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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