WASHINGTON (Oct. 28)
President Ford said at a White House dinner for president Anwar Sadat last night that he was honoring the Egyptian leader as a friend of the United States and because “you are committed to improving the conditions of life for all Egyptians and for the people of the entire Arab world.”
Ford, in his toast to Sadat, hailed him as “the man who assumed the lead in ending a conflict that for more than a generation absorbed the lives, the energies and the substance of many people.” He also declared that “no step can be an end to itself” in the Middle East. “There can be no peace until the legitimate interests of all the peoples of the Middle East are taken fairly into account into a final peace settlement.”
Responding with a toast of his own, Sadat intimated that the goal of his visit to the United States was to win the support of the American people and to bring about U.S. support for participation by the Palestine Liberation Organization in the next Geneva conference. Earlier yesterday, in reply to questions at the National Press Club, Sadat condemned Zionism for bringing “hatred and violence” to the Middle East and claimed that Jews, who he alleged controlled Egypt’s economy until 1982, took orders from the Zionists.
WITH FRIENDSHIP, FROM EGYPT
In his toast last night, however, Sadat said he came to the U.S. “with a message of friendship and amity from the Egyptian people to every American.” He said the “past two years have witnessed a tangible improvement in our relations” and that “the events following the October, 1973 war have dissipated many misconceptions and myths that marred the healthy development of our relations for so long.”
Sadat added that “we have always maintained that if the U.S. adopted an even-handed policy in the Mideast there will be no problem between us.” He said “The Egyptian people–and in fact the entire Arab world–expect the U.S. to continue to demonstrate by words and deeds alike its genuine interest in reaching a final peace settlement” in the Middle East.
Ford and Sadat wound up their formal talks at the White House yesterday but arranged to hold an unusual follow-up meeting when both are in Jacksonville, Florida, Sunday, Sadat is scheduled to visit New York tomorrow where Mayor Abraham D. Beame has announced that he would not attend official welcoming ceremonies. (See separate story.)
U.S. and Egyptian officials, summing up yesterday’s Ford-Sadat talks, said they covered the need for a Syrian-Israeli disengagement agreement on the Golan Heights and, in general principle, Egypt’s request for U.S. military and economic assistance.