WASHINGTON (Apr. 6)
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat said today he “accepted” the State of Israel and “normalization” of relations between Egypt and Israel, but he hedged these remarks by saying he will not trade with Israel nor start cultural relations by allowing Israeli and Egyptian journalists to visit each other’s country.
Sadat also emphasized at a news conference that the Palestinians must be included in the peace process at Geneva. He said “a Palestinian state” must be founded. The Palestinian state, he said, is to consist of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and a “corridor through Israel” between them.
Sadat, who ruled out step-by-step diplomacy in favor of an overall settlement, said he has asked President Carter “to put some pressure on the Israelis” towards “establishing permanent peace.” When he was asked if he had the impression Carter was ready to begin a dialogue with the Palestinians, the Egyptian President replied: “I really felt President Carter and his Administration are giving the utmost importance for solving–giving priority to this problem and convening Geneva this year.”
This comment appeared to conflict with the report over Cairo radio that Carter had agreed to a separate state for the Palestinians and that they must be represented in Geneva. Cairo radio attributed the report to an Egyptian correspondent traveling with Sadat.
The news conference held at Blair House was the final highlight of Sadat’s three-day visit to Washington. Unlike the news conference he held 18 months ago at the Blair House, the guest house for visitors to the President, this conference was open to all correspondents. The Israeli and American Jewish press were admitted and raised questions.
U.S.-PALESTINIAN DIALOGUE IMPORTANT
Sadat said that he had the impression “especially (after Carter) having declared a homeland” for the Palestinians that a U.S. -Palestinian dialogue “will be of great importance for Carter when he starts formulating his policy” following his talks with other Arab leaders. Sadat was the first of the heads of five Arab countries with which Carter is to meet over the next eight weeks. Leaders of Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia also will be conferring with the President.
The Egyptian said that meanwhile “preparations” should start for the “certain activities” that he said will take place after Carter’s meetings with the other Arab leaders. “The most important thing.” he said, “is that I have full confidence in Carter” and that “the main party” for such “fruitful preparation” is the United States.
Sadat said that he and Carter discussed the question of Israel’s borders, including “recipro- cal” exchanges. But he rejected Carter’s proposal of possible Israeli defense points beyond her borders. He said “we can’t have two borders, there can be only one border.” Sadat acknowledged that he and Carter “agreed on certain points” and differed on certain points but did not identify them.
ATTITUDE TOWARD ISRAEL EXPLAINED
An Israeli correspondent asked what has caused Egypt to be willing to make peace with Israel now. Sadat replied that he has been doing this since Feb. 4, 1971 and said “I was the first Arab leader to do this” and “I am ready for a peace agreement.” The correspondent asked, however, why Sadat has changed his attitude and is willing now to accept Israel. Sadat replied that “when we accepted (Security Council) Resolution 242 in 1967 we accepted Israel.”
Another Israeli correspondent asked that since Sadat was ready to accept Israel would it not be a good idea for an exchange of visits by Israeli and Egyptian journalists. Sadat’s reply was that “part of the conflict is psychological. I myself have no objection. But believe me, our people are not ready after 29 years of war, hatred and bitterness. We must do it gradually. Whenever we end the state of belligerence all this will be reached.”
With regard to his statement on “normalization” Sadat said, “for sure there will be normalization” in relations with Israel. “You should not put in the agreement for us to make trade with Israel when they are in a (economic) mess, like me.”
Asked whether he had a message from the Palestinians for the U.S. government. Sadat replied he did not bring any written message. He said he had met with Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat shortly before leaving Cairo and prior to that he had talked to Arab leaders at the summit meeting in Cairo. He said that on every occasion “since we started the peace process in 1970″ he had stated that the Palestinian question was the core of the problem.
ENCOURAGED ON ARMS REQUEST
Asked whether he would agree to a buffer zone, Sadat raised the question of under whose sovereignty it would be. On aid to Egypt. Sadat said that the United States has “a moral obligation to help me–not soldiers, but by other means.” Sadat made this statement in response to his views on Soviet penetration in Africa. He also said “I didn’t submit anything official.” for arms from the U.S. “The issue is still open. I did not insist on so and so. I did not submit a shopping list.”
Asked if he was encouraged by Carter on his arms request which reportedly includes 250 missile-carrying warplanes, he indicated he was encouraged but did not elaborate. On economic assistance, Sadat told Senators he expects $1 billion annually which is approximately what Egypt is getting this year and received last year.