VIENNA (Jul. 15)
Egypt is looking for a “third door” that will settle the Middle East conflict without the use of force, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Hassan el-Zayyat said during his four-day visit to Austria, which ended today. After stops in Belgrade and Vienna on his way to the United Nations Security Council debate Zayyat flew – as Austrian diplomats said – unexpectedly to Paris today.
He was speaking at a news conference after talks with Austrian Foreign Minister Rudolf Kirchschlaeger. Zayyat, a plump man who frequently mopped his brow during the gathering with reporters, said the Middle East crisis “has to be” closer to a solution today than, for example, one year ago. “It has to be. All options are being closed. In the end we will have two possibilities left. The first is to accept occupation and annexation. The second is to resist. We are trying to find a third door, a solution to the conflict within international law.” Zayyat said. He said he was going to the United Nations tomorrow to “try to find the answer” to the lingering conflict. “Is it the mistake of the United Nations, of Israel or ourselves?” he asked.
Zayyat said Egypt wants “to put an end to the war by putting an end to the occupation of our land.” He said he was going to the UN as “an unrepenting optimist,” hoping that concrete results would be forthcoming. Zayyat said UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim was welcome to visit Arab lands if it would help settle the conflict. “Mr. Waldheim is welcome anytime in Cairo,” Zayyat said. (See Separate Story. P. 3)
Asked whether he thought the Suez Canal would be opened before Israel and Egypt had settled their differences, Zayyat replied. “We have one million refugees who lived in Suez. We cannot send them back to be killed by the fire of war.” Zayyat was asked whether he thought Austria was violating its neutrality by allowing Soviet Jews to transit here on their way to Israel. “It violates Austrian hospitality toward me,” Zayyat told a Jewish Telegraphic Agency reporter with a chuckle.