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Atherton Convinced Peace Process Can Go Forward

Alfred Atherton, the United States special envoy in the Middle East, returned here today after four days of talks in Egypt with President Anwar Sadat and other Egyptian officials. “I am still convinced the peace process can and must go forward,” Atherton told reporters. But Atherton, who said he will report on his talks to Israeli Premier Menachem Begin, said he had not brought any message from Sadat to the Israelis.

The American envoy will remain in Israel to prepare for the arrival of Secretary of State Cyrus Vance who is scheduled to arrive here Saturday. Vance will try to get Egypt and Israel back to the negotiating table, an effort that was torpedoed Sunday when Sadat said Egypt would not negotiate with the Israelis until they agreed to complete withdrawal from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.