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Sadat’s Terms: Israel Pull-back 115 Miles; 6 Months’ Timetable for Total Withdrawal

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President Anwar Sadat of Egypt laid down tough terms to Secretary of State William P. Rogers last week for an interim settlement with Israel to reopen the Suez Canal. Reports from Cairo today said Sadat told the 360 member parliamentary faction of the Arab Socialist Union, Egypt’s only political party, that Israel would have to pull back 115 miles from the waterway and would have to agree within six months to a timetable for its complete withdrawal from all occupied Arab territory. On the issue of Israeli navigation through the canal once it is reopened, Sadat said he told Rogers, “We will first study it within our political organizations before giving you an answer.” He reportedly described Rogers’ Mideast visit as an effort to move negotiations “from a standstill to an active phase.” A 115 mile pull-back from the canal would place Israeli forces at El Arish, about 25 miles from the old Israeli-Egyptian border. Israel has not indicated the extent it is willing to withdraw but has made it clear that it would not withdraw beyond a point that would deprive it of military control of the canal’s east bank and that it would not abandon its Bar-Lev line of in-depth fortifications. Sadat said he told Rogers that Egyptian military reoccupation of the east bank was essential to reopening the canal and “guarantee the safety of navigation.”

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