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Israeli Premier, Moroccan King Talk; Militant Arabs Condemn Meeting

July 22, 1986

RABAT, Morocco (AP) _ King Hassan II met with Israel’s prime minister Tuesday behind a heavy guard at the his forest-fringed summer palace. Militant Arabs accused him of treason and Syria broke relations with Morocco.

The controlled news media kept silent on the visit by Shimon Peres, the first by a serving Israeli prime minister to any Arab nation other than Egypt, with which Israel signed a peace treaty in 1979.

Troops and police ringed the pro-Western monarch’s mountain palace at Ifrane, 125 miles east of Rabat, and access was barred to outsiders.

Israeli reporters who arrived with Peres on the surprise trip to this North African nation on Monday night were in a luxury hotel within the security belt, apparently unable to communicate with the outside world.

Moroccan officials acknowledged privately that the talks were in progress, for the first time since the Israeli leader came here to discuss Middle East issues with Hassan. They would say little more, however, and spoke on condition of anonymity.

One senior Moroccan source said the king was accompanied in the meetings by Foreign Minister Abdelatif Filali; Driss Basri, the interior and information minister, and Ahmed Guedira, Hassan’s chief political adviser.

He said Rafi Edri, parliamentary whip for the prime minister’s Labor Party, was with Peres. Edri, born in Morocco, has made several visits here recently.

″I have no information about anyone else taking part,″ the official said.

Western diplomats, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said the meeting was carefully prepared, with ″friendly leaders″ informed in advance, including President Reagan and King Fahd of Saudi Arabia.

President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt said of the talks: ″If they are going to present us with new initiatives for a solution, I support this with everything in my power and I believe the whole nation agrees with me, because we want to live in peace.″

Arab militants raised an outcry, accusing Hassan of ″a betrayal of the Arab cause.″

President Hafez Assad of Syria said he was breaking relations with Morocco.

Moammar Gadhafi of Libya, whose country is linked to Hassan’s by a 2-year- old treaty of union, said receiving Peres was a ″grave violation″ of that agreement but stopped short of breaking formal ties.

Iraq said the meeting was a ″deviationist and strange″ move by Hassan that would ″further weaken and rip apart the fragmented Arab world.″

An Algerian government spokesman branded the visit ″an outrage against the entire Arab nation and an unspeakable violation of its most sacred cause, the liberation of Palestine.″

Algeria and Morocco, struggling over the Western Sahara, have not had diplomatic relations for nearly 11 years.

Such moderate Arab nations as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait had little or no comment. All presumably were among those given prior notice of the talks.

Saudi Arabia formally denied knowing about the meeting ahead of time.

King Hussein of Jordan received Mohammed Awad, a special emissary from Hassan, in Amman on Monday night, but Jordanian officials denied that Awad’s message concerned the Peres visit.

The diplomats in Rabat said, however, that the relationship between Jordan and Israel was at the heart of the Peres-Hassan talks.

An attempt to arrange peace negotiations between the two countries, with the United States acting as broker, has stagnated since an agreement on a joint approach by Hussein and Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasser Arafat fell apart in February.

One experienced diplomat rejected the view that the Peres-Hassan meeting was a breakthrough toward an Arab-Israeli peace settlement comparable to the historic 1977 meeting in Jerusalem between President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Menachem Begin, then prime minister of Israel.

Sadat was assassinated in October 1981 by foes of the peace treaty he signed with Begin in 1979.

″In the Jerusalem meeting, both participants were directly involved in the Middle East crisis,″ the diplomat said. ″In Ifrane, only Peres is so involved. Hassan, though deeply concerned for the Palestinian cause, is too far from the action to have a direct stake in the outcome.

″This could make him an ideal mediator or middleman between Jordan and Israel. The one leader most concerned is absent, namely King Hussein.″

Outcome of the meeting would be of primary interest to Hussein because of the breakdown of his arrangement with Arafat, which Hussein ended on grounds the PLO did not keep its word.

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