Monday, May 18, 1998

In London, Secy. Albright asks Arafat to consider Netanyahu's proposed "refinements" to the 13.1% FRD plan. Arafat rejects proposal for cancellation of 3d FRD (see 5/17). Speaking with reporters, Pres. Clinton refuses to characterize Netanyahu's position in talks with U.S. officials, saying that to do so "would almost certainly reduce the chances of our being able to get agreement which would move parties to final status." (MM 5/18; CSM, NYT, WP, WT 5/19; MM 5/20; PR 5/22)

Citing Albright's London mtg. with Arafat, a senior British official says that the UK is "suspicious" that the U.S. is letting its brinkmanship with Israel on the FRD issue fade. In Paris, French pres. Jacques Chirac, Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak call for a new international peace conference (opposed by the U.S.), creation of a Palestinian state. (MENA 5/18 in WNC 5/19; AFP, MENA 5/18, 5/19 in WNC 5/21; WP 5/19; WT 5/20; MENA, RE 5/21 in WNC 5/23; MM 5/22; RE 5/23 in WNC 5/27; MEI 7/31)

At the G-8 mtg. in London, Pres. Clinton agrees to ask Congress for greater authority to waive sanctions required under 2 U.S. laws that threaten to affect firms fr. France, Israel, Malaysia, Russia: Helms-Burton Act, which requires sanctions against foreign firms that make use of confiscated U.S. property in Cuba, and the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, which punishes Iran, Libya for sponsoring "terrorism" by threatening sanctions against 3d countries who enter large economic agmts. with them (see 9/28/97). (NYT, WP, WT 5/19; MEI 6/5)

3 Amal mbrs. are wounded in clash with IDF in s. Lebanon. (RL 5/18 in WNC 5/21)