The American Secretary of State, Alexander Haig, has been holding talks in Jerusalem with members of the Israeli government and opposition leaders, including former Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, former Foreign Minister Abba Eban, and present opposition Labour Party leader Shimon Peres.
JERUSALEM: SV INTERIOR King David Hotel; Haig, Abba Eban, Shimon Peres and Rabin. (2 SHOTS)
CU Peres speaking. (3 SHOTS)
BETHLEHEM: CU Mayor Elias Freij, Mayor of Bethlehem speaking. (3 SHOTS)
JERUSALEM: GV & SV Haig speaking at press conference as Yitzhak Shamir looks on.
TRANSCRIPT: PERES: "We are deeply interested to see the autonomy talks being concluded before April. As a matter of fact we are worried about the situation that may be created after April in the void of an agreement ever autonomy. Well, in that case some new Zrab coalitions can be made, not all of them particularly in favour of peace, not all of them particularly in favour of the United States roles, and so I do believe that the neutral bargaining between Egypt and Israel may continue to remain alive, which will lose in a isolation which has a warring nature."
ELIAS FREIJ: "Mr. Haig told me that he does not agree with Israel's policy of making Jewish settlements in the West Bank and in Gaza, And he does not accept the Israeli point of view that the Arabs in East Jerusalem should be excluded from the autonomy talks. And his region for autonomy is much wider than the Israeli formula fro autonomy. And I think it is in our national interest as Palestinian Arabs to have the avail of American authorities on the highest level, and I call upon the PLO to have a Palestinian peace initiative issued right away where they will challenge Israel for peace and not for war. I have said this to the Secretary of State last night and that would pave the way for the PLO and the American administration to have a political role and I think that will really serve our national cause."
HAIG: "I think at this juncture I am optimistic and hopeful, but not unmindful of the great obstacles that have to be overcome in the period ahead in the autonomy category, and I think the optimism comes essentially from the attitude of the leadership in both capitals, which has dedicated itself to an extraordinary effort in the days ahead to achieve an agreement."
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Background: The American Secretary of State, Alexander Haig, has been holding talks in Jerusalem with members of the Israeli government and opposition leaders, including former Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, former Foreign Minister Abba Eban, and present opposition Labour Party leader Shimon Peres. His tour is part of a campaign to revive the stalled talks on Palestinian autonomy. Afterwards, Mr. Haig expressed optimism and said he would return to the region by the end of the month. He also met the Mayor of Bethlehem, Elias Freij, who is regarded as a moderate Palestinian leader.