Newsletter : 6fax0723.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
July 23, 1996 V4, #133
All the News the Big Guys Missed
Germans Want Their Say in Peace Talks
By Kyle King (VOA-Bonn)
German officials say they plan to take a more active diplomatic
role in the Middle East following their successful efforts to
broker an exchange Sunday between Israel and the pro-Iranian
Hizbullah. The deal resulted in the return of the remains of two
Israeli soldiers in exchange for the remains of 123 Hizbullah
terrorists and the release of 45 prisoners held by the Israeli
backed south Lebanon army militia.
Bernd Schmidbauer, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl's intelligence
coordinator, says Germany's contacts in the Middle East give it an
ideal basis for more diplomatic efforts in the region.
Schmidbauer, who played a key role in organizing Sunday's exchange
of remains and prisoners, says his government enjoys the trust of
all the major players in the Middle East, including Iran.
Schmidbauer says Germany plans to try to use its good relations in
the region to resolve humanitarian issues and play a larger role in
the Middle East peace process.
The United States, which has sought to isolate Iran because of its
support for terrorists, has often been critical of Germany's policy
of maintaining ties with Iran.
Speaking to reporters in Bonn, Schmidbauer said he expected some
critics to find fault with the fact that negotiations for the swap
took place with Hizbullah, Iran, Syria and Lebanon. But he said
Germany has always believed that maintaining a dialogue with Iran
was the right thing to do.
Israeli analysts say an increasing German role in Middle East
politics would be welcome, but the main mediation role, they say,
will continue to belong to the United States.
Schmidbauer, whose intelligence work and savvy image has frequently
invited media comparisons here in Germany with the fictitious
British secret agent James Bond, says he now plans to focus on the
case of Ron Arad, an Israeli air force navigator whose plane was
shot down over south Lebanon in 1986.
Some reports from Beirut say Lebanese guerrillas have offered to
seek information about the Israeli airman as part of efforts to
help Germany negotiate a comprehensive prisoner exchange.
Ross is in Middle East This Week
By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)
U S Middle East peace envoy Dennis Ross is in the region this week
to try to get the peace process back on track. He is visiting the
Syrian, Jordanian and Israeli capitals. The trip coincides with
another peace mission, this one by French Foreign Minister Herve de
The aim of the talks this week is to see about clearing the way for
resuming peace talks, especially between Syria and Israel.
Negotiations have been stalled for months. Now Syria is reluctant
to deal with the new Israeli prime minister who has so far rejected
the idea of giving up land for peace. Syria says there will be no
peace until Israel returns all of the Golan Heights, which it
seized in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
Egyptian officials say they are not sure if Ross is bringing any
new proposals with him on this trip.
The visit coincides with a French mission to the region by Foreign
Minister Herve de Charette. He is consulting with leaders in
Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and Egypt as well as the Palestinian
De Charette carried out an intensive shuttle diplomacy last April
to help broker an end to the fighting between Israel and Hizbullah
terrorists in southern Lebanon. France is a member of the
multi-national monitoring team put in place to prevent any
violations of the cease-fire there.
Mubarak Stresses Need for Solidarity
By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak used the anniversary of Egypt's
1952 revolution to stress once again the need for Arab solidarity
and for renewal of the peace process. The Egyptian leader also
urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resume
negotiations based on the principle of land for peace.
Mubarak used his half-hour speech to repeat his call for a speedy
resumption of the peace process based on the principle of land for
peace. He added that he also warned the new Israeli prime minister
during their meeting last week of the dangers of not pushing
Mubarak said an important result of the talks was that Netanyahu
understands the importance of working with the Arabs as equal
partners -- of working for their interests as well as for Israel's
Mubarak also stressed the need for reconciliation within the Arab
community. And he called for greater Arab solidarity in the face
of all the complexities of the Middle East peace process. He
echoed the declaration of last month's Arab summit when he stressed
that Arab partners in the process do not want to return to the
days of conflict and hostility.
On the thorny issue of Jerusalem, Mubarak repeated Arab support for
the right of Palestinians to decide their own fate and for the
importance of resolving the status of Jerusalem in any final peace
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