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May 22, 1987 - Image 33

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-05-22

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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WASHINGTON IN BRIEF

Peres, Shultz. Discuss
Mideast Peace Parley

New York (JTA) — Foreign
Minister Shimon Peres and
Secretary of State George
Shultz met for 90 minutes
here last weekend, apparent-
ly to discuss an international
conference for Middle East
peace.
But neither man comment-
ed on that issue when they
emerged from their talk, nor
did they refer to it later in
their remarks at a dinner
given in their honor by the
Ben Gurion Centennial Com-
mittee, the culminating event
in the year-long celebration of
the 100th anniversary of the
birth of Israel's first Prime
Minister, David Ben Gurion.
Peres and Shultz met again
when both attended a meet-
ing of the American Israel
Public Affairs Committee
(AIPAC) before Peres re-
turned to Israel. Addressing
the 28th annual policy con-
ference of AIPAC, Shultz said
that the Reagan Administra-
tion has made it clear it will
continue to "explore" the
feasibility of an international
conference on Middle East
peace despite the deadlock in
Israel's national unity
government over the issue.
"The President and I are
not committed to an interna-
tional conference and we are-
not asking others to commit
themselves," Shultz told the
1200 persons at the confer-
ence. But, Shultz stressed
that the United States be-
lieves that a "real opportuni-
ty" exists for making pro-
gress and "it is important to
explore all possible ap-
proaches" including an inter-
national conference that
would lead promptly to direct
face-to-face negotiations.
Shultz took pains to em-
phasize that the U.S. was
"careful not to intervene in
domestic Israeli politics," a
reference to the current split
in which Peres and his Labor
Party was pressing for such a
conference to the vehement
opposition of Prime Minister
Yitzhak Shamir and Likud.
Peres, in a speech to AIPAC
as well as in his other public
remarks, asserted that he had
not come to the U.S. to seek
support for his position but
to explain it.

"I didn't ask for any state-
ment by Mr. Shultz aimed at
Israel," Peres said on NBC-
TV's "Meet the Press". "I
think the United States has
clarified its position and I

hope they won't rotate from
it."
Shultz told AIPAC he
believes King Hussein of Jor-
dan "is sincere in his
readiness to pursue a nego-
tiated settlement" through
direct negotiations with
Israel. He said that Hussein
also agrees that the interna-
tional conference, which the
king has demanded, "will not
impose any solution or veto
any agreement made by the
negotiating parties.
The Secretary stressed that
Palestinians must participate
in the negotiations, but "on-
ly in a Jordanian-Palestinian
delegation." He ruled out any
part for the Palestine Libera-
tion Organization in peace
talks.
In another development, in
Jerusalem, Communications
Minister Amnon Rubinstein
announced that he would ad-
vise his Shinui Party to leave
the Labor-Likud unity coali-
tion government in which it
has been a strong ally of
Labor. A decision is expected
after the Shinui Council
meets. Although the party
holds only three Knesset
seats, its defection would
seriously weaken Peres in his
bitter deadlock with - Shamir.

But Rubinstein, who sup-
ports Peres on that issue, in-
dicated his move was intend-
ed to spur Labor to break its
three-year coalition with
Likud and press for early elec-
tions.
But the "last straw," he
said, was Likud's negotia-
tions with the ultra-Orthodox
Shas Party which has four
Kriesset mandates that could
enable Likud to form a nar-
rowly based coalition without
Labor. Likud reportedly pro-
mised - Shas it would push
through the controversial
"Who is a Jew" amendment
to the Law of Return which
would outlaw conversions by
non-orthodox rabbis.
Shas politicians were con-
ferring with the party's Coun-
cil of Sages over whether
former Interior Minister Rab-
bi Yitzhak Peretz should re-
join the Cabinet in return for
Likud's promises. Peretz
resigned several months ago
__. rather than comply with a
1 Supreme Court order to
register as Jewish an im-
migrant, Shoshana Miller,
converted by a Reform rabbi
in the U.S.

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