Friday, October 18, 1991

In Jerusalem, Secy. of State Baker and Soviet FM Boris Pankin jointly announce that their governments have extended invitations to attend a Middle East peace conference to be held 30 October in Madrid. Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Palestinian negotiators will attend the meeting, scheduled to be opened by Pres. Bush and Pres. Gorbachev. First stage of process will be a three-day opening conference, followed by face-to-face negotiations among the parties. A third stage of talks, dealing with regional issues, would include other Middle Eastern countries. Announcement comes in wake of Baker's meetings with PM Shamir and with Palestinian negotiators, who provide Baker with a partialist of Palestinian delegates who will participate in a joint Palestinian-Jordanian delegation after PLO Central Committee approved Palestinian participation in joint delegation. But Israeli officials delay giving Baker a final answeregarding Israel's participation because they were not shown the list of Palestinians. Earlier in the day, Pankin and Israeli FM Levy announced that Israel, USSR are restoring full diplomatic relations. The move culminates four years of improved relations, which began with the establishment of consulates in 1987 and the emigration of over 300,000 Soviet Jews to Israel. (MEM 10/18; WP 10/19)