Middle East peace talks between the Foreign Ministers of the United States, Israel and Egypt have been postponed for a day following a last minute row over the agenda in Jerusalem and Cairo on Sunday (15 January).
Middle East peace talks between the Foreign Ministers of the United States, Israel and Egypt have been postponed for a day following a last minute row over the agenda in Jerusalem and Cairo on Sunday (15 January). The talks were due to start on Monday (16 January) in Jerusalem, following a meeting between Israeli and Egyptian military chiefs in Cairo last week. Both meetings were arranged at the Ismailia summit between Egypt's President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. According to Israeli sources the disagreement over the agenda involved the wording of references to the future of Palestinians on the West Bank. The sources said there were numerous exchanges between Cairo and Jerusalem over the wording, which was finally changed to a compromise acceptable to both sides. In the meantime Egyptian Foreign Minister Mr. Mohammed Kamel, had delayed his departure for Jerusalem, as had the United States Secretary of State, Mr. Cyrus Vance. The talks are scheduled to go ahead on Tuesday (17 January), but the wrangle marks the latest development in a steady deterioration of relations between Israel and Egypt.
SYNOPSIS: The day before the row, when the Israeli cabinet was meeting, Mr. Begin had reacted to criticisms of Israel by President Sadat in an Egyptian magazine.
Despite Mr. Begin's comments, differences remain between the two countries.... differences which President Sadat had described as endangering the Middle East peace-making process.
This was highlighted the following day in Cairo when senior ministers, including Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel gathered for a meeting of Egypt's Security Council.
The Security Council, which also includes War Minister General Mohammed Gamassi, is Egypt's top policy-making body. It met for three hours to discuss the controversial agenda.
Egyptians sources said that at the meeting President Sadat seemed ready to risk the collapse of his peace initiative to secure Israeli concessions. The meeting eventually decided to let Foreign Minister Kamel fly to Jerusalem for the meeting. But he is expected to bargain hard about the crucial Palestinian issue.