Wednesday, May 29, 1991

Pres. Bush unveils proposal for arms control in Middle East, his first concrete policy initiative dealing with region since end of Gulf war (see JPS 80, doc. D3). Proposal includes call for: U.S., USSR, China, France, Britain to halt certain arms transfers; freeze on acquisition of surface-to-surface ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons-grade uranium & plutonium; regional acquiescence to global ban on poison gas weapons; commitments to abide by 1972 treaty on biological weapons and 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Proposals do not call for specific treaties but rather encourage self-restraint. Administration confirms that Israel, which has not signed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has objected to provisions on nuclear weapons. Israel reportedly possesses some 100 nuclear warheads. (NYT, WP, LAT 5/30)

Israeli government admits paying $35 million to government of former Pres. Mengistu Haile Mariam's government in Ethiopia for release of Ethiopian Jews flown to Israel 5/24 and 5/25, confirms that two senior officials of deposed government were given temporary asylum in Israel as part of deal. (NYT 5/30)

Following talks with Jordanian For. Min. Tahir al-Masri, PLO Pol. Dept. Head Faruq al-Qaddumi states that Jordan and Syria have responded positively to PLO proposal for coordinated stand among Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and PLO toward U.S. peace efforts in region. (MEM 5/29)

U.S. Def. Secy. Richard Cheney arrives in Israel for talks on arms sales. Israel has complained recently that U.S. is delaying delivery of $700 million in arms promised to Israel. Cheney states Washington remains committed to assuring Israel's military advantage over Arab states. (LAT 5/30)