CAIRO (Dec. 19)
The Egyptian and Israeli delegations met for less than an hour this morning and adjourned until Wednesday. Dan Pattir, spokesman for the Israeli negotiating team and his Egyptian counterpart, Dr. Mursi Saad E-Din, held a joint press briefing afterwards.
They reported “progress” but neither would specify in what area it was achieved. They said the negotiators heard a report from the Israeli and Egyptian legal experts who have been assigned the task of drafting an agenda and instructed the jurists to continue their deliberations. They will meet again–for the fourth time–tomorrow evening.
There is no concern here, however, over the leisurely pace the Cairo conference has taken since it is obvious that no substantive matters will be decided until the summit meeting between President Anwar Sadat and Premier Menachem Begin. Egyptian sources said today that the meeting would take place Sunday at Ismailia. (Begin confirmed this in New York today. See separate story.)
The meeting is not expected to be of more than several hours duration. Sadat indicated at a press conference Saturday that he and Begin will have a “working meeting” only. There will be no ceremonials this time, but Begin is expected to return to Egypt at a later date for an official state welcome that will match or exceed the reception given Sadat in Israel last month.
MAY SEEK ACCORD ON PRINCIPLES
Sources here expect Begin and Sadat to seek agreement on the principles of an overall peace settlement that would then be negotiated in detail here. It is considered most likely that the Cairo conference will be upgraded to the foreign ministers level after the Sadat-Begin talks.
Observers here believe that Sadat must be at least partially satisfied with the proposals Begin conveyed to President Carter over the weekend or he would not have invited the Israeli Premier to Egypt at this time. A personal encounter between the two leaders had not been expected this soon after the Cairo conference convened.
The fact that the Israeli and Egyptian spokesmen held a joint press conference seemed to signify a close cooperative relationship between the two delegations even though neither said anything of substantive interest. Until today the press briefings have been held separately but were coordinated between the two spokesmen.
The Israeli delegation, which just had a long weekend devoted mainly to sightseeing, is scheduled to visit Sadat’s home tomorrow at Mit Abul Kom village north of Cairo. The President will not be on hand to greet them. He arrived in Ismailia earlier today and went to his rest house there. But the visit is seen as another gesture intended to foster warm relations between the two negotiating teams. Pattir told newsmen that the Israeli delegation has received many telegrams and letters of encouragement from ordinary Egyptians. He said these and the many public outpourings of good will have impressed the Israelis.