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Summary of a Meeting between Prime Minister Shamir and Secretary of State Baker

(March 12, 1991)

Following a meeting with Mr. Shamir, it became clear that the United States supported the Israeli approach of a dual track negotiating process. Mr. Shamir rejected any effort to impose a settlement by external powers and requested American involvement in resolving the issue of Israeli prisoners missing in action. Prior to the arrival of Mr. Baker, the Israeli cabinet confirmed the May 1989 peace initiative, this time with Ministers Levy and Modai voting in favour. Text of the summary follows:

Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and U.S. Secretary of State James Baker had a very good and friendly meeting. The first part of the meeting lasted for an hour and a quarter in which the two met face-to-face in a private meeting. Afterwards the staffs joined in for a half hour meeting. Following the meeting the Prime Minister expressed his hope that from here on we will be able to move forward with the peace process.

In his face-to-face meeting with the prime minister, Baker reported on the following issues:

A. The efforts for peace arrangements in the Gulf. B. The problems of arms supervision.

C. The Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian problem. D. Economic cooperation.

No details will be released in respect to the private meeting, but with regard to the peace process, there exists a principle agreement on progress along a dual track between the Arab states and Israel, and on the other hand, an attempt to solve the Palestinian problem.

The prime minister stressed the importance of a change in relations between the Arab nations and the state of Israel, which will also influence the position which the Palestinians will take towards us. Israel stands behind its peace initiative of May 1989, and will make every effort to advance it. Secretary Baker said that he is delighted the cabinet confirmed the peace initiative, and that he has not come to apply pressure or to impose a solution, but to work together.

At the end of the discussion, the prime minister raised the issue of our prisoners of war who are in Arab countries, or in the hands of different organizations, and requested that the United States make a special effort with the good connections that it now has, following the war, with a number of Arab states, to locate and free the prisoners. Baker said that they [the United States] would willingly devote themselves to this matter, and would do all that they could.

The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State decided to continue their discussion at the private dinner which the Prime Minister and his wife are giving in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Baker this evening.

Source: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs