In Israel, discussions have resumed on Palestinian autonomy in Gaza and on the Jordan West Bank.
In Israel, discussions have resumed on Palestinian autonomy in Gaza and on the Jordan West Bank. Delegates from Egypt, Israel and the United States opened the third meeting of the series on Monday (June 25) but were still without a set agenda for the negotiations.
SYNOPSIS: Egyptian Prime Minister Mustapha Khalil headed the delegation from Cairo, which arrived at Ben Gurion airport early on the opening day of the latest talks. Israeli Interior Minister Yosef Burg, who heads the Israeli negotiating team, was on hand to welcome the Egyptians and to escort them to a luxury hotel at Herzlia, north of Tel Aviv. It was the fifth meeting in a month for Dr. Burg and Dr. Khalil.
Informed sources said the opening session was confined to an exchange of general ideas. The American delegation made brief opening remarks only. Dr. Burg later commented on the American role in the talks...
But he did not elaborate. Dr. Khalil spoke optimistically on the progress of the negotiations, and said Egypt was determined to honour its obligations. However, conference sources were generally agreed that any real progress on the substance of the autonomy problem must wait until next month's (July) meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in Alexandria. Palestinian delegates are not attending the talks and armed troops mounted extra security measures around the conference hall in response to guerrilla threats. Most West bank and Gaza residents have already reject ed Mr. Begin's offer of limited self-rule in the occupied territories.
The notable absentees from the israeli team were Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan -- recuperating from an operation -- and Defence Minister Ezer Weizman who was dropped at his request from the delegation at Sunday's (June 24) Cabinet meeting. He is known to object to Mr. Begin's unyielding stance on autonomy.