Talks are continuing in Washington as the United States, Israel and Egypt try to set the final ground rules for the conditions of the peace treaty which is due to be signed on Monday (26 March).
Talks are continuing in Washington as the United States, Israel and Egypt try to set the final ground rules for the conditions of the peace treaty which is due to be signed on Monday (26 March). Only one major issue -the timing of Israel's withdrawal from the sinai oilfields-- remains to be resolved before the treaty signing.
SYNOPSIS: U.S. Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, and Defence Secretary, Harold Brown, have been trying to meet the pre-treaty demands from the Egyptian and Israeli defence ministers about military aid. Reuters reports that Egypt may be able to buy the advanced F-16 fighter aircraft from the United States in addition to a one and a half billion dollar military aid package still being discussed.
Egyptian Defence Minister, General Kamal Hassan Ali, put forward his government's requests for air defence batteries, artillery, destroyers and submarines during a meeting with U.S. military Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon on Tuesday (22 March).
The Israeli Defence Minister, Mr. Moshe Dayan, flew into Washington on Thursday (22 March) for final talks on the memorandum, stating what action the United States would take, should Egypt fail to uphold her treaty obligations. Mr. Dayan has been credited with giving the final spur to the success of President Carter's Middle East peace mission by persuading an influential section of the Israeli cabinet to adopt a more compromising position on Egyptian demands for an Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai. Israel has now agreed to withdraw from most of the Sinai within nine months from the peace treaty taking effect...in return for an Egyptian willingness to exchange ambassadors one month later.
The one point on the Israeli position on the Sinai still unresolved when Defence Minister Dayan left the airport for talks with Secretary of State Vance was the timing of the Israeli withdrawal from the vital oilfields. Another difficult questions is the progression towards Palestinian autonomy on the West Bank and on the Gaza strip.
On Friday (23 March), Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin left Tel Aviv airport for the treaty signing in Washington. As he left Israel, the country's armed forces were on full alert against predicted Arab attacks. Defence Minister, Ezer Weizman, flying out to Washington with Mr. Begin, warned that Syria might attempt military action on Israel's northern border.
As Prime Minister Begin flew out to Washington..criticism was already being raised at Israeli plans to set up four new settlements on the West Bank of the Jordan. The UN Security Council has called the settlements a serious obstacle to a lasting peace in the Middle-East.