VIENNA (Jul. 9)
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Labor Party leader Shimon Peres both described the talks they held here today as a constructive step in the search for Middle East peace. Sadat termed the session, which was attended by Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky and former West German Chancellor Willy Brandt, as a happy meeting.
“It does not mean that we agreed on everything,” Sadat said afterwards, “but I think civilized discussion of our difficulties makes it easier to pave the way to permanent peace in our area.” Kreisky and Brandt had helped to arrange the meeting between the Egyptian leader and the leader of Israel’s opposition party.
Sources close to the Israeli and Egyptian delegations were more explicit. They said Sadat and Peres apparently agreed on little else than the necessity for peace. Sadat, when asked if he would meet with Premier Menachem Begin, said, “Yes, if Israel’s position has changed. Otherwise we are speaking different languages.” Sources here said Peres made it clear to Sadat that Israel’s Labor Party supports Begin’s government on most main points.
Israeli and Egyptian sources said, after today’s meeting, that Peres and Sadat will probably have a second meeting before they leave Austria. The Egyptians accompanying Sadat said there were no plans for him to meet President Carter who will be coming to Bonn this week for the Western economic summit talks. An Egyptian spokesman added, “Plans can still be changed, however.”
WARY OF CARTER-SADAT MEETING
Observers here believe Sadat would like to have a meeting with Carter for the additional diplomatic support such an encounter would give him. The Egyptian President is in urgent need of political backing in the face of the mounting domestic crisis in his own country. But, according to the observers, the Americans are reluctant to have a Carter-Sadat meeting before the London talks begin next weekend between the Israeli and Egyptian foreign ministers. The Americans fear such a meeting would be interpreted as taking sides with Egypt.
Sadat, on his arrival here Friday, reiterated his government’s demand that Israel should make “a total withdrawal from the captured areas with some minor rectifications.” This, he told reporters, is how the Arabs interpret Security Council Resolution 242. “The Israelis,” Sadat added, “have another interpretation but we are supported by the United Nations and world opinion.”