Menu JTA Search

Egypt’s Break with 5 Arab States Seen As Positive Effect on Cairo Talks

Israeli journalists in Cairo reported today that Egypt’s diplomatic break with the five Arab states opposed to President Anwar Sadat’s peace initiative could have a positive effect on the upcoming Cairo conference but will complicate the task of U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance who begins a Middle East visit Friday. (See related story from Washington.)

According to journalists, Sadat’s prompt decision to sever relations with Syria, Iraq, Libya, Algeria and South Yemen indicated that the Egyptian leader is prepared to go all the way to reach a settlement with Israel, possibly even a bilateral agreement. They said that diplomatic observers in Cairo believe, however, that the door remains open to heal the rift between Egypt and Syria. Egyptian officials are waiting for the results of the talks now taking place in Damascus between President Hafez Assad and King Hussein of Jordan and are hopeful that Syria may yet have second thoughts.

But sources in Cairo believe that in the present atmosphere in the Arab world, Vance will have a difficult time persuading the Syrians to change their minds about the Cairo conference or getting the opposition bloc to tone down its criticism.