WOODSIDE, Calif. — Philip C. Habib, formerly President Reagan's special envoy to the Middle East, believes that despite a new wave of terrorism, the time is ripe for renewed peace talks and that it is essential they begin this year.
"There's a hunger for peace, despite the fact that day after day one sees new tragedy," Habib said.
"I think the Lebanese experience has created a more impassioned desire on the part of people in many countries in that part of the world, including Israel as well as Jordan, the Palestinians and Egypt--a more impassioned desire to find a formula which will resolve the issues which have separated them so long."
The key parties--Israel, Jordan, Egypt and "the Arafat wing" of the Palestine Liberation Organization--have indicated in recent months that they are ready to resume talks, Habib said.
"I am of the opinion that it is not only possible, but that it is essential that they get to the table in 1985."
Habib, the key American negotiator in Reagan's unsuccessful efforts to carry forward the Camp David peace initiative four years ago, discussed current peace prospects Saturday before a World Affairs Council gathering.