Peres Says He Will Meet Mubarak in September
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) _ Prime Minister Shimon Peres said Wednesday he will meet with Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak during the first two weeks of September.
Peres was speaking on Israel Television after the return of the director general of the prime minister’s office from Egypt, where he met with Mubarak. Avraham Tamir met with Mubarak for 50 minutes in Alexandria on Tuesday.
The summit meeting will take place on Egyptian soil, he said. ″The announcement of the summit must come from President Mubarak as host,″ he said.
A meeting between the two leaders will follow the signing of an arbitration agreement between the two countries over Taba, a disputed border area over which both Israel and Egypt claim sovereignty.
″The agreement will be signed by the end of August, or at the latest, the beginning of September,″ Peres said.
During the television interview, Peres also said he has maintained contact with Morocco’s King Hassan II since their surprise meeting in Ifrane, Morocco, last month. He declined to give details.
Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir criticized Peres for sending Tamir to meet with Mubarak without informing the Foreign Ministry, the liberal daily Haaretz reported earlier Wednesday.
Haaretz said Israel’s ambassador to Cairo, Moshe Sasson, threatened to quit his post if Tamir met with Mubarak again without taking him along.
The clash between Peres’ office and the Foreign Ministry reflects the constant tensions between the prime minister’s left-leaning Labor Party and Shamir’s right-wing Likud Bloc.
Peres is anxious meet with Mubarak before he cedes office to Shamir in October under a 1984 power-sharing agreement.
The director-general of the Foreign Ministry, David Kimche, said in a television interview Wednesday that he knew Tamir had gone to Cairo to handle preparations for a Peres-Mubarak summit, but ″I did not know he would leave clandestinely and I did not know he would not bring our ambassador.″
Mubarak has said on several occasions that he will meet with Peres only after the two countries sign an agreement on guidelines for the international arbitration of the Taba border dispute.
Israel radio reported that Mubarak would not set a date for the summit until three independent arbitrators are agreed upon by the two sides.
An unidentified Egyptian source in Tel Aviv told the radio that the summit, the first between the two countries’ leaders in five years, could take place Sept. 12 or 13.
Israeli and Egyptian experts met in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss technical arrangements for upcoming talks on the disputed Taba enclave, the Israeli ambassador to Geneva said Wednesday.
Ambassador Pinhas Eliav told The Associated Press that the one-day meeting focused on logistics of the international arbitration, which he said could begin as early as November.