WASHINGTON (Oct. 12)
Israel and Egypt began writing a peace treaty today with the United States as a “full partner,” after hearing President Carter tell the delegations of the three countries that “people throughout the world are depending upon you.”
Welcoming the 20-member Egyptian delegation and the II-member Israeli delegation at the White House before the start of their deliberations at Blair House across the street, Carter said that the peacemaking process now underway is a “foundation and a first step for a comprehensive and lasting settlement between Israel and her neighbors.”
“The United States is committed without reservation to see this process through,” the President said, until peace “is assured” in the Middle East because it “affects the well-being of every American.”
Carter said that “for 2000 years in the Middle East the people have cried ‘peace, peace,’ and there was no peace.” But less than a month ago, the President noted, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Premier Menachem Begin “created a chance for true peace” and now “the next vital steps” are “turning that framework into a lasting structure for peace.”
The President noted that not all the differences have been resolved. But “we have established procedures. Again we invite Jordan and the inhabitants of the West Bank and others to join with us. The alternative is drift, stalemate, continued enmity and perhaps another war.” The U.S., he added, “is committed without reservation to seeing this great process through until each party to the Arab-Israeli conflict is at peace with all the others….We will work hand in hand with all involved parities until the job is done and peace is assured.” Carter spoke with Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan and Egyptian Defense Minister Kamal Hassan Ali who headed their countries’ delegations.
Dayan, following Carter, said “It is our hope and belief that we have reached the stage in which we can finally conclude a peace treaty. I know that we still have to overcome many obstacles, but with you (Carter) and your aides’ help, Mr. President, and the constructive spirit of the parties, we can accomplish peace.”
Ali welcomed Carter as “a full partner in the peace process. We attach the greatest importance to the continuation of this partnership until a comprehensive peace is achieved in our area; a comprehensive peace which insures the fulfillment of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and enables them to play a constructive role in a peaceful Middle East.”
Carter, Dayan and Ali spoke on a dais with the flags of the U.S., the United Nations, Egypt and Israel in the background. Meticulous protocol was observed in the seating arrangements for the guests and the delegations of Egypt, Israel and the U.S. Israeli Defense Minister Ezer Weizman, cochairman of the Israeli delegation, was seated in a front row between Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, who is heading the U.S. delegation and Egyptian Ambassador Ashraf Ghorbal. Behind them were Mrs. Rosalynn Carter, Mrs. Dayan, Mrs. Weizman and Mrs. Simcha Dinitz.
On the other side of the aisle, Egyptian Acting Foreign Minister Boutras Ghali sat between Alfred Atherton, the special U.S. Ambassador to the Mideast and Israeli Ambassador Simcha Dinitz. Behind them were Vice President Walter Mondale and Cabinet members and White House officials concerned with foreign affairs.
OPTIMISM ABOUT PEACE ACCORD
Immediately following the ceremonial program in the presence of an international gathering in the East Room of the White House where the Camp David accords were announced Sept. 17, the reaction appeared to be optimistic for an Israeli-Egyptian agreement at the very least by the end of the year.
Sen. Richard Stone (D.Fla.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Middle East, said Carter, Dayan and Ali all put on “their best face for their appropriate constituents.” The Egyptians, he said, “seem less unilateral as they work toward a peace treaty in their area.”
Stone said Carter is seeking “the involvement of Jordan and the West Bank and Gaza Strip inhabitants” and “stressed what is available for them.” He said the Israelis “are anxious to create goodwill not only for themselves but for the Egyptians.”
After the ceremony at which the guests included Jewish and Arab communal leaders, the delegations went to Blair House for a formal lunch to open up the proceedings.
The first session of the talks chaired by Vance, took 15 minutes, George Sherman, the U.S. spokesman reported this afternoon. “All endorsed a common desire to achieve agreement as quickly as possible, “he told reporters.”Methods will be drafted to reach that goal.” Sherman said that “everyone felt” the atmosphere at Blair House “was very good and constructive, cordial and friendly. There was a determination to get on with the job.”
The United States delegation is participating as a “full partner” in the talks and, acting as hosts, will inform the press daily on developments that take place. This is similar to the arrangements at the 13-day successful Camp David talks. Carter, meeting with Congressmen on another matter this morning, was quoted by Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R.NY) as saying “that he will participate directly” if that becomes necessary. Like all others interviewed, Gilman expressed optimism, saying that the atmosphere and timing are “favorable” for conclusion of an Egyptian-Israel agreement.