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Common Mart Backs Mideast Peace Talks

February 23, 1987|From Reuters

BRUSSELS — The European Mart today strongly supported the convening of an international peace conference on the Middle East under U.N. auspices.

A statement issued by mart foreign ministers meeting here said that such a conference would provide a suitable framework for negotiations between Israel and the Arabs.

The statement did not say who else would take part, but EC diplomats said that it was clear it would involve the Soviet Union, which so far has been excluded from the peace process.

The European Mart decision comes after several months of debate within the mart and mounting pressure from Arab states that see the conference as the only way to peace, diplomats said.

The mart move was seen by diplomats here as a signal to Israel that the time was ripe for a change in its policy opposing such a conference.

Belgian Foreign Minister Leo Tindemans, who chaired the meeting, said last month that the loss of U.S. credibility in the region after the arms-to-Iran scandal necessitated a review of the European Mart's previously passive attitude toward peace moves in the Middle East.

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