Menu JTA Search

For Better Relations? Sadat Aide to Talk to U.S. Officials at Olympic Games

Informed sources reported here today that Hassanein Heykal, editor of the Egyptian newspaper, Al Ahram, and confidant of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, will meet with high United States officials during the Olympic games which start next week in Munich. The sources said they felt Heykal plans to raise the issue of improvement of American-Egyptian relations and that he will try to persuade the US officials to halt military aid to Israel.

Simultaneously, Sadat alternately threatened and cajoled the United States in two separate statements, on an interview on Radio Luxemburg broadcast last night and the other in an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro. He said on the Luxemburg broadcast that if the United States “extended the hand of friendship to Egypt on the basis of justice,” then “I would seize it without hesitation.”

He disclosed he had been in contact with US leaders throughout 1971 “and I never failed to keep them informed of my initiatives, notably before the Brezhnev-Nixon meeting” in Moscow last May. But he also stressed that Israel’s desire for peace and by implication that which he considered supported by the US, was a solution he would “never support because it rests on territorial concessions resulting from the war.”

Sadat conceded that, with the ouster of Soviet military personnel and much of their equipment, Egypt could find itself “definitely reduced to a defense position while Israel could practice an offensive strategy.” Giving credence to widespread reports he was shopping round for substitute sources of weapons, Sadat said he deplored that “our Western European friends, like the French, for example, apply the same embargo on arms deliveries to Egypt and Israel.” He said the question of war with Israel should not be discussed, declaring that “before making war one must be in a position to win it and this could take a long time.” Becoming philosophical, he remarked “What does it matter? Egypt already has a 7000-year history.”

Sadat took a harder line in the Figaro interview in which he said he was planning to convoke an Arab economic summit conference to examine US interests in the Arab world. The aim of such a conference, he implied, would be to show the US that its interests in the Arab world “are threatened.” He said this was the only option he had “to offer America to make it change its pro-Israeli stand.” He said US Secretary of State William Rogers’ latest call for direct talks between Egypt and Israel as giving “no hope for a peaceful settlement.” He contended that “when one’s country is occupied, accepting direct negotiations would be equal to surrender and we will not surrender.”

Sadat contended that the US gets from oil interests in Arab countries the money it uses to supply Israel with all its needs. “Thus.” he said, “they take our money and give it to our enemy.” He said he had refused “parallel negotiations” with the US acting as intermediary because “it is one hundred percent on the side of Israel.” He also charged that the US had “undermined” any concerted effort by the Big Four–Russia, Britain, France and the US–which could have led toward a settlement.

NEXT STORY