Wednesday, June 18, 1997

EU special envoy Moratinos arrives in Syria. (SANA 6/18 in WNC 6/19)

In Washington, U.S. cosmetics heir Ron Lauder holds confidential mtg. with Syrian Amb. Moualem to discuss ways of restarting the Syrian-Israeli talks, then briefs Secy. of State Albright. Israel's Dir. of Policy Planning Bar-Ilan says that the mtg. was not authorized, but was welcome, by Israel. (MM 7/7)

Israeli finance M Dan Meridor, a Likud mbr., resigns, saying he has lost faith in Netanyahu's leadership, the PM deliberately sabotaged his agreement with the Bank of Israel for currency liberalization. (MM 6/18; Globes [Internet], ITV 6/18 in WNC 6/19; MM, NYT, WJW, WP, WT 6/19; YA 6/19 in WNC 6/20; Globes [Internet] 6/19 in WNC 6/23; ITV 6/19, MA 6/20 in WNC 6/23; Globes [Internet] 6/19 in WNC 6/24; CSM, MM 6/20; WP 6/26; MEI 6/27)

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Appropriations Subcomm. chmn., announces that the subcomm. will forward legislation to the full Appropriations Comm. without the annual $2.1 b. in foreign aid to Egypt; says Egypt is obstructing the peace process by refusing to attend multilateral talks, refusing Pres. Clinton's invitation to Washington 9/96, leading the effort to reimpose the Arab boycott, moving closer to Libya. State Dept. says that the administration stands behind its foreign aid request. (al-Wafd 6/20, al-Quds al-Arabi 6/23 in WNC 6/25; WT 6/21; MM 6/25; MM 8/14)

Syrian VP Khaddam arrives in Iran for talks with Pres. Rafsanjani on the peace process, Turkish intervention in n. Iraq, 6/10 House decision. (IRNA 6/18 in WNC 6/19; SA 6/19 in WNC 6/20)

After 11 mos. in office. Turkish PM Erbakan turns his resignation into Pres. Suleyman Demirel, says he is willing to enter a new coalition under Ciller. Legally it is Demirel who must ask Ciller to form a new government; he has not stated if he will abide by the new coalition arrangement. (AFP 6/18 in WNC 6/19; MM, NYT, WP, WT 6/19; MEI 6/27) (see 6/13)

UN Secy. Gen. Annan accepts a U.S. deal (passed by the House 6/11, the Senate 6/17) under which the UN would agree to reduce U.S. dues to 20% of the total budget by 1999, reduce U.S. peacekeeping to 25% by 1999, tighten the UN budget, reduce staff in exchange fr. the U.S. paying off $819 m. of its $1.3-b. debt over 3 yrs. The draft legislation must now be approved by the full Congress. (WT 6/19)

In Hebron, IDF clashes with Palestinians for 5th straight day, wounding 5. (MM 5/18; NYT 6/19; MEI 6/27)

In s. Lebanon, 3 SLA soldiers, 1 civilian are killed, 2 civilians are wounded by a roadside bomb. Israel blames Hizballah; responds by making in incursion into Jazzin, far n. of the self-declared security zone, arresting a number of youths, including a Lebanese soldier; submits complaint to ILMG, accusing Hizballah of planting the bomb. (VOL 6/18 in WNC 6/19; MM 6/26; MEI, MM 6/27)