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Israel Rejects Sadat’s Proposal

Israel today rejected a reported proposal by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to postpone the Geneva Conference and establish an Israeli-Arab working group to lay the groundwork for the conference first. The Cabinet decided to stick by the Israeli-American “working paper” which Israel regards as the basis for reconvening the Geneva talks.

Sadat, in a television interview Friday, reiterated the proposal he made during Secretary of State Gyrus Vance’s tour of the Middle East last August for an Arab-Israeli working group to draft an agenda of topics to be discussed at Geneva. The original proposal collapsed when Syrian President Hafez Assad dismissed it as useless. In a report in Cairo yesterday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmy denied that Sadat was reviving his proposal and claimed the Egyptian President was only recalling developments in Mideast diplomacy.

Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan told the Cabinet today that Sadat’s proposal should be rejected because the Egyptian President was probably trying to neutralize the American-Israeli working paper and because Israel did not want to negotiate with a joint Arab delegation.

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