WASHINGTON — Secretary of State George P. Shultz will fly to Egypt and Jordan for meetings with their leaders next month, but the State Department cautioned Friday that this does not signal a breakthrough in the Mideast negotiating process.
Shultz had been scheduled to go to Jerusalem on May 10 to pay a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and to meet with Israeli officials.
His spokesman, Bernard Kalb, said Friday that afterthat visit Shultz will go to Cairo and Amman "to hold consultations." No exact schedule was made public, but it is expected that he will visit the two capitals May 11-13.
Asked if the announcement of the Shultz trip means that current talks by Assistant Secretary of State Richard W. Murphy in Israel, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt have produced a breakthrough, Kalb replied, "The answer is no, nor have there been any setbacks." He described Murphy's trip as "an exploration, a gradually developing process."
The United States is attempting to set up direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Arabs, including Palestinian representation, but Israel will not meet with Palestinians who might be representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Israelis regard the PLO as essentially a terrorist organization.