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October 21, 1988 - Image 35

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-10-21

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

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Shultz Peace Initiative
Seems Solidly In Place

WOLF BLITZER

Special to The Jewish News

ashington — A sen-
ior State Depart-
ment official has
predicted that the United
States will pursue the
general outline of Secretary
of State George Shultz's
Arab-Israeli peace initiative
irrespective of a George Bush
or Michael Dukakis victory in
the presidential election next
month.
Assistant Secretary of State
for Near Eastern and South
Asian Affairs Richard Mur-
phy said the U.S. will remain
actively engaged in the Arab-
Israeli peace process "over the
balance of the year and into
the next:' The U.S. commit-
ment to the peace process, he
added, remains "solid?'
Testifying on Oct. 13 before
the House Foreign Affairs
Subcommittee on Europe and
the Middle East, Murphy said
Shultz was " very conscious of
the fact the clock is running
on the administration, and he
wants to hand on the most
vital, the most dynamic in-
itiative possible" to the next
administration.
"Our Middle East policy
will continue to reflect the
fundamental continuity and
bipartisanship that has
characterized it in the past,"
Murphy said.
The assistant secretary re-
jected suggestions from con-
gressmen that the U.S. in-
itiative put forward in recent
months by Shultz has failed.
The U.S. has "an overriding
national interest" to continue
the peace process. "So it's go-
ing to be ongoing," he said.
After the Israeli elections
on Nov. 1, he continued, "the
new team in Israel will have
to look at some enduring
realities of the problem. We
don't foresee any reshaping of
the initiative as it was
developed in the early months
of 1988, and presented to the
parties somewhat refined in
our discussions . . . over the
past eight or nine months. So
I would not foresee a brand
new approach or a brand new
initiative."
Responding to questions
from Democratic Represen-
tative Tom Lantos of Califor-
nia, Murphy said that the
U.S. has detected a changed,
more constructive Soviet
attitude toward the Arab-
Israeli conflict. But the
assistant secretary said
Washington and Moscow still
disagree over the best way to
get talks off the ground.

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"We're not seeing it pro-
cedurally in the same way,"
he said.
Murphy said that he recent-
ly told the Soviets not to ex-
pect any dramatic changes in
U.S. policy after the election.
"I told them in our last ses-
sion that they should have no
misunderstanding about the
bipartisan nature of our Mid-
dle East approach," he said.

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"Certainly, a new ad-
ministration of whichever
party is going to have its own
emphases, but the parame-
ters are out there and they
shouldn't hold back waiting
for an American election
because the approach is on-
going and I think highly
consistent . . . from one ad-
ministration to the next."
Murphy said the continuing
Palestinian uprising in the
territories and King Hus-
sein's decision to sever Jor-
dan's ties to the West Bank
have created "the largest
political challenge the PLO
has ever faced?' But he said it
remained unclear how the
PLO leadership would re-
spond.

"I honestly don't know
what they are going to come
up with," he said.
PLO Chairman Yassir
Arafat, Murphy said, has not
applied for a visa to speak
before the United Nations. As
a result, the administration
has not yet decided whether
to permit him to enter the
country for that purpose.
If the PLO were to declare
an independent Palestinian
state or a provisional
government-in-exile, he said,
it would probably receive
substantial Arab and Third
World support.
The U.S., he added, would
not change its policy toward
the PLO. "There's no misun-
derstanding on their part
what it would take to bring
about a U.S.-PLO dialogue,"
he said, referring to the long-
standing U.S. conditions.
"Their thinking has never
been clear to us. But there's
no ambiguity in our position.
There's not going to be any
shift in our position:'
PLO acceptance of the 1947
UN partition resolution
would not be enough to lead
to American recognition of
the PLO, Murphy said. "That
isn't going to be enough for
us," he said. The PLO must
accept Resolutions 242 and
338 as well as Israel's right to
exist. It must also, Murphy
added, renounce terrorism
and violence.

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