LONDON (Sep. 19)
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Hassan el-Zayyat believes that a psychological moment for peace has arrived in the Middle East and should be seized despite the apparent difficulties. The visiting diplomat from Cairo made that remark at a luncheon given in his honor yesterday by Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home and at several meetings with news men since his arrival here Sunday.
He reportedly told Sir Alec that Egypt was looking to Britain and the Western European countries united in the Common Market to make a decisive contribution to Middle East peace. Zayyat, who served for two years as Egypt’s Ambassador to the United Nations before he was named Foreign Minister by President Anwar Sadat earlier this month, is regarded as a diplomat with leanings toward the West. His predecessor, Foreign Minister Murad Ghaleb who was fired by Sadat, was regarded as closer to Moscow where he had served as Egypt’s Ambassador for ten years.
Responding to Zayyat’s remarks at the luncheon, Sir Alec observed that some progress had been made toward peace in the Mideast in the last few years and hinted that it was now up to Israel to carry that progress forward. Sir Alec said that Egypt has publicly accepted a commitment to peace which included the idea of demilitarized zones and UN guarantees. Premier Golda Meir of Israel has re-stated Israel’s willingness to negotiate a withdrawal in advance of a final settlement, Sir Alec said.
ISRAEL COULD UNLOCK DOOR TO ACCORD
He added, “I hope that it may be possible for Israel to go further and say that she does not desire to annex Egyptian soil, though she would require adequate arrangements in Sinai to safeguard her security. Such a statement could unlock the door to a settlement.” Sir Alec stressed implementation of Security Council Resolution 242 of Nov. 22,1967 and called for “every government to outlaw terrorism.”
The Israeli Embassy welcomed Sir Alec’s stress on action against terrorism and his call for a peace settlement preceded by communications between both sides. In a statement issued today, the Embassy said Israel was seeking an agreed peace settlement and secure borders but was also willing to negotiate an interim settlement including a measure of withdrawal in advance of a final settlement. But first Egypt must renounce its support of terrorism, the Embassy said.
The Egyptian visitors disclosed here that the Soviet military personnel ousted from Egypt by President Sadat last summer took with them their SAM-3 and some of their SAM-2 anti-aircraft missile batteries. They said the SAM-2s left behind were not accurate and were not provided with ammunition or spare parts. The Egyptians say they are seeking mainly defensive weapons here. British sources have reiterated several times that British policy is not to do anything that would disturb the military balance in the Mideast.