The United States Vice-President, Walter Mondale, arrived in Jerusalem on Friday (30 June) for talks on Middle East peace efforts.
The United States Vice-President, Walter Mondale, arrived in Jerusalem on Friday (30 June) for talks on Middle East peace efforts. His visit was an official one, to be followed by a trip to Egypt. But Mr. Mondale insisted on making part of his tour of Jerusalem a private affair, in diplomatic terms.
SYNOPSIS: When Mr. Mondale arrived at ben Gurion International Airport, there was an official welcoming party, headed by the Israeli Prime Minister, Mr. Menachem Begin. Mr. Begin said his guest was welcome as a friend who had stood by Israel for many years.
Security was as tight as it had been for the historic peace mission by president Sadat of Egypt. Mr. Mondale's task was to get the peace momentum moving again. A few demonstrators outside the airport waved banners opposing any Israeli withdrawal from occupied Arab lands.
Mr. Mondale began with private talks with the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Yigael Yadin -- the first of a number of discussions he was to have with government ministers. Then the American Vice-President went sightseeing, to the holiest shrine in the Jewish religion, the Wailing Wall. But he went privately and not officially, so the visit could not be seen as condoning the Israeli occupation of East jerusalem or Israeli claims to sovereignty over the whole city.