JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir rejected Saturday a Soviet proposal for a U.N. meeting to discuss an international Mideast peace conference, calling the idea "propaganda."
Shamir, who has steadfastly opposed an international conference, told Israel Radio that Soviet backing for such a meeting is well known. "They do it for propaganda aspirations and anybody knows it is against our interests."
The Soviet Union asked U.N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar to convene a meeting of Security Council member foreign ministers to discuss organizing an international conference on the Middle East. Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze, in a published letter, said such a meeting is the only realistic means of ending the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Israel's coalition government has been deeply divided by the issue of a peace conference. Shamir, head of the right-wing Likud Bloc, opposes the idea. Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, head of the left-of-center Labor Alignment, has actively promoted such a conference.