Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, September 17, 1984, Page 8
Facts For Your Files: A Chronology of U.S.-Middle East Relations
The Reagan Administration, in a statement released by the State Department, said it opposes a proposed congressional amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act stipulating that annual U.S. economic aid to Israel be no less than the sum Israel owes the U.S. in debt repayments. The Administration said it opposes the amendment, sponsored by Senator Alan Cranston (D-CA), "since it would impinge on Presidential authority to set budgetary priorities in future years. It could also set a potentially costly precedent in terms of our assistance programs for a number of other important countries where debt repayments to the United States government now exceed, or can be expected to exceed in the near future, United States government assistance levels."
State Department spokesman John Hughes offered the fullest assessment to date on the U. S. view of the treaty between Morocco and Libya, which the two countries announced August 14: "The text (of the agreement) notes that this is a 'Treaty of Federation.' Moroccan officials have emphasized to us that this does not constitute a union between the two governments ... We have been assured that conclusion of this treaty does not signify any shift in Moroccan policy toward the United States government."
Secretary of the Navy John Lehman announced that Israel will lease the U.S. 12 Kfir C1 jet fighters which will be used by the Navy as mock enemy planes in combat training. He said Israel offered the Kfirs on a "no cost, four-year-lease basis." Israel will maintain the planes at a cost to the U.S. of $68 million.
The U.S. notified Libyan diplomats at the United Nations that they and their families would no longer be able to travel outside New York City without prior special permission. No reasons were given by the U.S. for the tighter restrictions. Previously, Libyan diplomats could travel within a 25-mile radius of the city.
Secretary of State George Shultz held a meeting with Reda Guedira, a senior advisor to King Hassan II of Morocco, amid concern within the Reagan Administration over Morocco's new "treaty of federation" with Libya. Details of the meeting were not made public.
The U.S. vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution calling on Israel to "immediately lift all restrictions and obstacles" it imposed recently on Lebanese travelling to Israeli-occupied southern Lebanon. U.S. delegate Warren Clark said the Lebanon-requested resolution—which also reaffirmed earlier U.N. resolutions calling for the unconditional withdrawal of Israeli troops—was "unbalanced" and amounted to a "selective, myopic look at only one part of the problem" in Lebanon. The remaining 14 members of the Security Council voted for the resolution.
Yigal Cohen-Orgad, the current Israeli Finance Minister who is not slated to continue in the new unity government, said that Israel will ask the U.S. for between $750 million and $1 billion in emergency aid for its deteriorating economy. This would be in addition to the $2.6 billion Israel is expected to receive in fiscal 1985.
State Department spokesman John Hughes said the U.S. had received "apparently reliable reports" that the Reverend Peter Curtin Major—an American priest—had been kidnapped September 4 by guerrillas in Sudan. Mr. Hughes said: "The Sudanese government is aware of the U.S. government's concern that all appropriate action be taken to obtain the early safe release of the American citizen concerned."