July 22, 1986

We welcome this meeting between King Hassan and Prime Minister Peres. It symbolizes the change that has occurred in the Middle East and creates a context which can enhance the peace process. We have always urged direct contact between the Arabs and the Israelis as an essential step in the dialog leading to peace. The U.S. was aware of this meeting, but we regard it as a Moroccan-Israeli initiative, which we strongly welcome.

The Syrian decision to break relations with Morocco is a negative step which flies into the face of the changing political environment in the Middle East.

Note: Larry M. Speakes read the statement to reporters at 9:23 a.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House.