TEL AVIV (Dec. 21)
Defense Minister Ezer Weizman returned from Egypt today after two meetings with President Anwar Sadat in Ismailia and two prolonged working sessions with Egyptian War Minister Mohammed Gamassy near Alexandria.
The Israeli defense chief refused to reveal what subjects he discussed with Gamassy but stressed that they dealt only with questions relating to Egypt, not the West Bank. He said the purpose of his meetings with his Egyptian counterpart was to find the right moves to the road toward peace, or, rather, what moves would ensure Israel’s security in peace time.
Weizman, who began consultations immediately this evening with Premier Menachem Begin in Jerusalem, told reporters at Ben Gurion Airport that he might not be optimistic but was full of hope. It was learned that one subject he discussed was the establishment of “hot line” telephone connections between the Israeli Defense Ministry and the Egyptian defense establishment to prevent any possible outbreak of hostilities due to a mistake or misunderstanding.
The Defense Minister indicated that he might go to Egypt again before Begin and Sadat hold their summit meeting at Ismailia Sunday. He said that would be decided in the course of his consultations with Begin tonight. The meeting at the Prime Minister’s residence was attended by Deputy Premier Yigael Yadin and other senior Cabinet ministers.
Weizman gave no details of his talks in Egypt, nor would he confirm reports here that he had brought with him detailed options for an Israeli-Egyptian security agreement in Sinai complete with maps. He was accompanied on his trip by two senior army officers, Gen. Shlomo Gazit, chief of intelligence and Gen. Herzl Shafir, commander of the southern front, as well as his military aide, Col. Ilan Tehila.
HELD ‘BROAD TERMS’ DISCUSSION
Weizman did confirm earlier reports here that he had expected his trip to Egypt to remain secret but it was announced by the Egyptians. Begin, who returned from the U.S. last night, also expressed surprise that the media knew of Weizman’s trip. Before leaving Egypt today the Defense Minister met at Cairo airport with Eliahu Ben-Elissar, head of the Israeli delegation to the Cairo conference, and an-other delegation member, Gen. Avraham Tamir.
He said that he met with Sadat, at the President’s request, immediately upon his arrival in Egypt yesterday and that the Egyptian leader wished him success. “This morning I came to see him to bid him farewell before my departure,” Weizman said. He said Egyptian Vice President Hosni Moubarak and Gamassy were both present. An Israel Army Radio reporter said Sadat told him at Ismailia that he and Weizman had discussed in “broad terms” questions relating to a comprehensive settlement. He said Sadat emphasized “broad terms.”
(Meanwhile, David Landau, reporting from Cairo, said there are rumors that Weizman will return for another round of talks in Egypt before Begin’s summit with Sadat on Sunday. These rumors lend weight to the theory that Weizman is indeed involved in far reaching negotiations on the defense aspects of a settlement–and that the two sides want to have something tangible already concluded on this before the Sunday summit. Egypt officially confirmed that Israeli Foreign Minister Mashe Dayan will accompany Begin and that Weizman might also take part in the summit talks.)