Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir wound up a three-day visit here today without reaching agreement with Egypt on any of the major outstanding issues between the two countries.
After completing a final round of talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamal Hassan Ali and meeting with President Hosni Mubarak, Shamir was unable to announce a date for the Egyptian leader's proposed visit to Israel or detail any progress in the deadlocked Palestinian autonomy talks.
Shamir had said that one of the principal objectives of his trip was to gain a commitment from Mubarak for a precise date for his visit, preferably before the final Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai on April 25.
Sources close to both delegations said the Egyptians were seeking a guarantee that no military action would be undertaken by the Israelis after Mubarak's visit that would embarrass him. The Egyptians are wary since just days after the late president Anwar Sadat met Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in Sharm el-Sheik in June Israeli warplanes destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor nearing completion.
Persistent reports that Israel may be planning to attack Palestinian guerrilla positions in southern Lebanon have made the Egyptians particularly sensitive on this point.
The Israelis were demanding that Mubarak make more than a symbolic day-long visit to Israel, the sources said.
Following his 75-minute meeting with Mubarak, Shamir said only that "this visit will take place, but the timing and details will continue to be discussed."
The Egyptians were understood to be eager to secure an Israeli guarantee of good behavior to protect their efforts at reconciliation with other Arabs.
Monday, Ali again stressed Egypt's determination to accomplish such a reconciliation, saying that "if now there are differences between Egypt and a number of Arab countries, they are differences between brothers that inevitably will disappear."
Addressing the 390-member Egyptian parliament on the government's foreign policy objectives, Ali said, "Egypt's return to its position in the Arab world is inevitable." He also stressed the government's continuing commitment to the peace process with Israel.
Officials also gave no indication that the two sides made any progress in resolving their differences over the Palestinian autonomy issue or the signing of a joint declaration of principles before the April 25 withdrawal.
Ali was quoted by the semiofficial Cairo daily, Al Ahram, Wednesday as saying Egypt would not sign any declaration regarding the principles of autonomy for the 1.2 million Palestinans living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip without the consent of the Palestinians.