Shultz Winds Up Israeli Talks with No Visible Progress
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz began a round of meetings in Egypt today after talks in Israel that did not produce any apparent headway toward negotiations on the Arab-Israeli dispute.
″I cannot point to any particular thing and say we’ve gone from here to there,″ Shultz told reporters in Jerusalem on Sunday. He urged Arabs and Israelis to ″dig in″ and try to find a path to direct negotiations.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Esmat Abdel-Meguid greeted Shultz today at Cairo International Airport, where veteran reporters said security was the tightest ever for a secretary of state.
Shultz and Abdel-Meguid left for talks at a nearby hotel. The secretary of state was to meet Prime Minister Atef Sedki and have a working lunch with President Hosni Mubarak.
After talks in Cairo, Shultz was scheduled to fly to London to see Jordan’s King Hussein.
Shultz said Sunday he would like to see Hussein meet with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir so they could ″come to grips directly″ with their differences.
″But we all realize there are impediments, and we try to deal with those impediments,″ Shultz said at a news conference in the bar of a Jerusalem hotel.
Earlier, in a speech to 300 academics at the Weizmann Institute at Rehovot, Shultz called on the parties to the Middle East conflict to take risks in exploring peace.
″Those who are reluctant to explore new ideas or even revisit old ones have an obligation to offer something different as an alternative to the status quo,″ Shultz said.
Shultz later denied he was referring to Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.
Shamir opposes an international Middle East peace conference, which has won the endorsement of the Arabs, the Soviet Union, and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, Shamir’s coalition partner. Shamir has said he fears that the international format would force Israel to return all land captured in the 1967 Middle East War.
Shultz sharply criticized eight prominent Palestinians from the occupied West Bank who boycotted a planned meeting with him on Sunday.
″They have missed something,″ Shultz said. ″It’s sort of contradictory for them to say they need to be heard but then when they are offered a chance not to take advantage of it.″
Shultz said he thought some of those invited did not attend because they feared reprisals.
Mustafa Natshe, former mayor of the West Bank city of Hebron, told The Associated Press that the Palestinians rejected the invitations because they believed the Palestine Liberation Organization should represent Palestinians, and because they were angry at the closure of a PLO office in Washington.
″We consider the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of Palestinians inside and outside the occupied territories,″ Natshe said.
The secretary of state gave no hint he brought any new ideas to Shamir or Peres. Instead, he suggested the parties should be willing ″to take a look at the old ones again.″
Yossi Ben Aharon, director general of the prime minister’s office, confirmed Shultz had not come with new proposals.
″We didn’t learn new things from Mr. Shultz, but that was not his goal,″ Ben Aharon said in an interview on Israel army radio. ″His goal was to try to examine our position, then to examine positions of other parties to the peace process, and to see if it was possible to move the cycle another step ahead.″
Violent protests continued Sunday in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza City against Shultz’s visit, the Arab-owned Palestine Press Service said. A 14-year-old boy was wounded, the agency said.