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June 02, 1989 - Image 32

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-06-02

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

!CAPITOL REPORT I

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MAKE YOUR MOVE WHEN SHE LEAST EXPECTS IT
THE CHECKMATE COLLECTION

President's Assurances
Quell Speech Uproar

WOLF BLITZER

Capital Correspondent

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ecretary of State
James Baker says the
United States is ac-
tively pressing the Palestine
Liberation Organization in
Tunis to give "the green
light" to Palestinians living
on the West Bank and Gaza
to accept Israel's proposal for
autonomy elections as part of
a broader political peace
negotiation.
Interviewed Sunday on
NBC's "Meet the Press,"
Baker warmly praised Prime
Minister Yitzhak Shamir's
election proposal, while
acknowledging that the
United States and Israel still
differ over various aspects of
the plan.
Baker again defended his
controversial speech last
week before the American
Israel Public Affairs Commit-
tee (AIPAC), insisting it was
"balanced:' He said that he
agreed with Shamir's recent
statement that U.S.-Israeli
relations were very good
despite long-existing dif-
ferences on some territory
issues. .
"One of the things I said in
that speech, for instance, was
that we think that Prime
Minister Shamir's proposal
for elections as part of a
broader political negotiation
was a very good proposal,"
Baker said. "We have some
differences with some aspects
of it. But as a vehicle for mov-
ing toward peace in the Mid-
dle East we think it was a
very, very good effort and
we're very pleased with it.
And we want to try to follow
up on that, and indeed we are
following up on it."
Baker said the next step in
the process involved convinc-
ing the PLO to accept the
Israeli plan. "We are pressing
the Palestinians in every way
that we know how, through
our dialogue in Tunis," he
said. "Through our am-
bassador there, to the PLO,
we have suggested to the PLO
that they permit Palestinians
in the occupied territories to
engage with Israel on this
question of elections."
U.S. officials said that
Baker and other administra-
tion policy-makers are con-
vinced that the Israeli elec-
tions proposal will never get
off the ground unless the PLO
in Tunis accepts it. The U.S.
dialogue with the PLO, they
said, is being used to press
the PLO on this issue.
The Americans said that

Baker would also continue
his efforts in Europe this
week to enlist the support of
America's NATO allies to en-
courage the PLO to go along
with the plan.
Asked whether the Bush
administration would appoint
a special Middle East envoy,
Baker replied: "No, because
we're devoting a lot of atten-
tion to it ourselves. Frankly
we don't think progress is
made in the Middle East with
high visibility initiatives. We
think, until you till the

Dennis Ross:
Hears from Arad.

ground carefully, sometimes
those things can preempt
more promising possibilities."
Earlier last week, Baker
assured Israel that he would
actively press America's
NATO allies to support
Israel's proposal for Palesti-
nian elections.
The secretary would make
clear that the United States
fully supports the Israeli
peace initiative and expects
the European allies to follow
suit.
The Israeli Ambassador to
the United States, Moshe
Arad, last Thursday met with
Dennis Ross, director of the
State Department's Policy
Planning Staff, to express
Israel's disappointment in
Baker's AIPAC speech.
The ambassador, according
to Israeli officials, told Ross
that Baker had failed to reaf-
firm several long-standing
elements of U.S. policy, in-
cluding opposition to any
complete return to the
pre-1967 lines and the need
for secure and recognized
borders for Israel.
Arad noted that there was
no reference in the speech to
the need for a unified

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