Levy Has Encouraging Meeting
With Arab Peace Partners

(September 24, 1999)

Sixteen Arab countries, some of which have no diplomatic relations with Israel, participated in a multilateral meeting with Foreign Minister David Levy on September 24, 1999, HA'ARETZ reported. While diplomats from Syria, Lebanon, and Algeria were not in attendance, the meeting was nevertheless a great accomplishment. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen, none of which has diplomatic relations with Israel, sent delegates, as did Qatar.

After the meeting, Levy told reporters that the meeting's major significance "was that it expressed the commitment of the Arab world and the countries of the Persian Gulf to the peace process." Levy added that the fact that countries which had no diplomatic relations with Israel had sent delegates proved that "recognition of Israel is expanding beyond our immediate neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, Yemen and North Africa; which is, in fact, the objective toward which all Israeli governments have striven. It is possible that we are on the threshold of an expanding peace, where associations with Israel will no longer be accompanied by collective punishment in the Arab world."

Sources: Israeli Government Press Office, (September 27, 1999)