Newsletter : 5fax0612.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
June 12, 1995, V3, #107
All the News the Big Guys Missed
For subscriptions or back issues, please contact POL management
Elbit to Compete with Aircraft Industries in Making Drones:
The Elbit electronics company has set up a division to produce
pilotless planes -- drones -- and will compete with the Israeli
Aircraft Industries which has had a virtual monopoly of this line
in Israel. Elbit will show four drone models at the July Paris Air
Show. Elbit has recently been awarded a contract to update 100
Mig-21 Soviet-made fighter jets for the Romanian Air Force.
Christopher Returns to Washington After Whirlwind Middle East Trip
By Laurie Kassman (Cairo), Ron Pemstein (Amman), Al Pessin
PLO chairman Yasir Arafat is due in Cairo today for
consultations with President Hosni Mubarak, two days after his
talks with US Secretary of State Warren Christopher. Palestinian
and Israeli negotiators are trying to meet a July 1 target date for
an agreement on expanding Palestinian self-rule to the West Bank,
but Israel is indicating that deadline might slide.
Arafat will brief Mubarak on his round of discussions with
Christopher and on the latest developments in Palestinian
negotiations with Israel. The two men meet regularly to review the
peace process. Their talks follow Mubarak's own meeting last Friday
with Christopher and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
On Friday, Rabin indicated the July 1 deadline might slip a bit
because of continuing disagreements over the timing and extent of
an Israeli troop re-deployment in the West Bank. Egyptian Foreign
Minister Amr Moussa later called on Israel and the Palestinians to
respect the target date in order to avoid losing credibility.
However while meeting with Christopher in Amman, Arafat expressed
his resignation to extended negotiations with Israel. The
PLO chief made it clear the July 1st date is merely his hope, not
"We hope the 1st of July will be respected by all parties and we
are looking for it, including deployment and handing over the
empowerments and after that the elections.
Rabin says July 1 is merely a target date, not a deadline for
negotiations. Christopher repeated that position and said the
United States is urging both sides to complete the next phase of
their declaration of principles.
The secretary of state has made clear the US will stay involved in
the Israeli-Syrian negotiations from President Clinton on down.
"I retain the strong conviction that if there is a peace agreement
here in this region, particularly one that brings about a
comprehensive peace, that the United States will -- and Congress
will -- support those who take the risks for peace. We've done
it in the past. It is so fundamentally in our national interest
to do so. We have such a large stake in a comprehensive peace in
this region that I would look forward to the day and I would try
to persuade Congress that they should be supportive of whatever
support we can give to those who took risks to achieve a
Elections will be held in both Israel and the US in 1996 and
Christopher says it is evident the attention of both men will be
diverted next year. That gives a window of less than six months
for this intensive diplomatic effort to be made.
Israelis opposed to a withdrawal from the Golan Heights criticized
the optimistic tone of the Christopher mission. The secretary of
state granted interviews to both Israeli state television channels
in an effort to emphasize the benefits of peace, not just the price
to be paid.
Before flying back to Washington, he assured King Hussein the
Clinton administration will restore the legislation relieving
Jordan's debt to the United States. The measure was included in a
budget law vetoed on other grounds by President Clinton. The
administration hopes to include the debt relief in another
congressional action. Before leaving the area yesterday,
Christopher set the date for the resumption of Israel-Syria
military talks, doing some mediating between top Israeli and
Palestinian leaders, and making a very public move to improve
Israel's relations with Egypt. But in spite of the visible
progress and optimistic statements from all the leaders
concerned, the secretary also left behind many of the same
disagreements which have prevented dramatic progress in the Middle
East peace process for the last year.
On Sunday, Rabin formally reported to his Cabinet on the
Christopher visit and the status of talks with Syria and the
Palestinians. He repeated his view that peaceful relations with
Syria must be tested during what he called "a period of years"
before any significant Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights.
He said at the outset there can be only a "small, symbolic"
Syrian government radio immediately branded those remarks a new
obstacle to peace.
Rabin also said Sunday that Israeli troops will need to have
the right to move freely throughout the West Bank, even after
Palestinian Autonomy is expanded to more areas. And in
comments during the last few days, he has said negotiators might
miss the July 1 target date for reaching agreement on the
next phase of Palestinian Autonomy. He indicated that if the
Palestinians want their elections to be soon they will have to
hold them with Israeli troops in some of their cities.
Those comments drew anger from Palestinian officials, who say
the July 1 date must be met or there could be a violent
response, and that Israeli troops must withdraw from much of the
West Bank, and elections must be held, within the next few
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