Secretary of State James Baker discussed European and Arab ideas for structuring a Mideast peace conference with Israeli leaders Friday without reaching accord on a framework, Israeli sources said.
Baker met for four hours with Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir after a 21/2-hour session with Foreign Minister David Levy. Baker begins a tour of Arab lands on Saturday in Awaba, Jordan, holding his first meeting with King Hussein.Israeli sources told The Associated Press the talks here were confined to procedural issues. Most prominent among them was who would sponsor the negotiations that Israel agreed last week to hold with Arab states and with Palestinians.
Israel wanted the talks held in Washington under United Nations ausipices. But the Arabs told Baker last week they want an international peace conference, and West European foreign ministers informed him Thursday in Luxembourg that the European Community should be a co-sponsor along with the Soviet Union.
The Israeli sources, insisting on anonymity, said the issue could not be resolved during Baker's stop in Jerusalem. He has left his schedule open for a possible return here next week after going to Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
There no immediate word from U.S. officials describing the meetings with Shamir and with Levy.
Avi Pazner, the prime minister's media adviser, characterized the talks as "friendly, even while the subjects under discussion were serious."
Pazner said Baker and Shamir had "a basic, deep discussion of advancing the peace process."
"I would not call them difficult talks," he said. "They were very basic."
Baker had nothing to say to reporters after seeing Levy. He also avoided reporters aboard his plane on the flight Thursday from Luxembourg.