[IWAR] ISRAEL Netanyahu/US Sec. of State

From: Michael Wilson (MWILSON/0005514706at_private)
Date: Thu Dec 04 1997 - 19:34:20 PST

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                 Netanyahu to meet U.S. Secretary of State empty-handed
          Copyright ) 1997 Nando.net
          Copyright ) 1997 The Associated Press
       BONN, Germany (December 4, 1997 9:11 p.m. EST http://www.nando.net) --
       Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Germany on
       Thursday to ask Chancellor Helmut Kohl to use his influence with
       Israel's Western friends and the Palestinians to spur Mideast peace.
       "The chancellor has a big influence on our partners. We trust him and
       (Palestinian leader Yasser) Arafat does also," Israel's ambassador to
       Germany, Avi Primor, told a Berlin newspaper.
       Netanyahu arrived in Bonn late Thursday for the first of several
       meetings with European and U.S. officials aimed at pressing his approach
       for ending the deadlock in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
       Included in the prime minister's itinerary was a meeting with Secretary
       of State Madeleine Albright in Paris on Friday.
       In the German capital, Netanyahu went straight into a closed meeting
       with Kohl that lasted nearly four hours. No statements to reporters were
       planned after the meeting, Kohl spokesman Andreas Fritzenkoetter said.
       As Netanyahu arrived at Kohl's offices by helicopter, the chancellor
       remarked on the damp, chilly Bonn weather, to which Netanyahu replied,
       "Well, the atmosphere is warm."
       Netanyahu's plan for breaking the stalemate in peace talks calls for
       broadening negotiations and skipping over interim steps called for under
       existing accords, Primor told Der Tagesspiegel.
       Israel maintains that step-by-step negotiations required under the Oslo
       accords open too many opportunities for strife. It wants to discuss
       remaining obligations to cede land together with larger issues, such as
       what kind of state the Palestinians will get.
       The Palestinians see this as an Israeli ploy to delay pending transfers
       of West Bank areas to Palestinian control.
       Netanyahu also hopes Kohl can help smooth relations with Israel's
       biggest ally, the United States, which is pressuring Israel to do more
       to advance the peace process that has bogged down since Netanyahu came
       to power in 1996.
       "Our relationship with the United States traditionally is good,"
       Netanyahu told Bild Am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday.
       "But as in the best of families there are differences of opinion. I know
       Chancellor Kohl is a great friend, and that in such a case, he can make
       his friends happy with his influence."
       In Paris, Netanyahu planned to update Albright on Israel's plans for a
       redeployment of its forces in the West Bank.
       But the prime minister left Israel on Thursday empty-handed, after
       failing to reach agreement with senior ministers on an Israeli troop
       withdrawal from the West Bank.
       "Netanyahu is not taking finalized maps to Albright," said David
       Bar-Illan, a top aide to the premier. Bar-Illan said the senior
       ministers would meet again Sunday in Jerusalem but that a final proposal
       was not likely to be presented to Israel's Cabinet before Dec. 14.
       On Sunday, Israel's Cabinet voted to go ahead with a redeployment, but
       set no date or size for the withdrawal.
       In Washington, the Clinton administration was insistent about the need
       for redeployment, which is called for under a U.S.-brokered agreement
       with the Palestinians.
       "Our goal ... is to see a further redeployment soon, one that is
       significant and one that is credible," State Department spokesman James
       P. Rubin said Wednesday in Washington.
       German policy toward the Jewish state, though colored in the postwar
       period by a moral obligation stemming from the Holocaust, has become
       increasingly critical of Israel in recent weeks.
       For the first time last month, Germany cast a vote criticizing Israel in
       one of the perennial U.N. General Assembly resolutions taking Israel to
       task over its settlement policy.
       Only the United States and Micronesia sided with Israel in the
       By IAN MADER, Associated Press Writer

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