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Deny Egyptian Report That Israel Agreed to Compromise on Article Vi

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Top Israeli officials denied today that Israel has agreed to any compromise over Article VI in the peace treaty draft which Egypt apparently wants eliminated or changed. Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan, who left on a two-day official visit to Switzerland today, told reporters at the airport that he knew of no change in the attitude that Israel has expressed on the subject.

Informed sources here said there was no truth to an Egyptian report that Israel had agreed to remove Article VI from the treaty text if its intent was expressed in a letter accompanying the treaty. Article VI establishes that the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty will take precedence over any past treaties Egypt has with other Arab countries aimed against Israel.

According to Maariv, a senior source who participated in the Washington negotiations that produced the draft treaty observed that there was no need for a letter unless the objective was to alter Article VI, and Israel remains totally opposed to that. Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office also denied that Premier Menachem Begin’s letter to President Anwar Sadat of Egypt offered any compromise with regard to Article VI.

WAITING FOR VANCE’S ARRIVAL

Meanwhile, Israel is awaiting the arrival of Secretary of State Cyrus Vance who will visit the Middle East next week on the orders of President Carter. He is due in Cairo Sunday and will go from there to Jerusalem at an as yet unspecified date.

Senior sources here believe that Vance will try to induce the Egyptians to accept the draft treaty without changes inasmuch as the draft, already accepted by Israel, reflects the U.S. compromise proposals. The thinking here is that since the Americans pressured Israel to accept the treaty as is — which it did with some reservations — they would want to prevent the Egyptians from reopening certain crucial aspects.

Dayan reportedly told U.S. Ambassador Samuel Lewis when they met yesterday that by accepting the treaty at Washington’s request, Israel had set aside some of its original demands. If the U.S. recommends that the draft be again opened up for negotiations, Dayan said, it will be the U.S. responsibility if each of the parties makes new demands which may lead to renewed bargaining over the entire treaty.

The feeling here is that the U.S. does not want to reopen the treaty and would prefer to settle unresolved issues in supplementary letters exchanged between the parties. Nevertheless, Israeli sources do not rule out the possibility that the U.S. might change its mind and support Egypt’s demands for changes.

BEGIN TO MEET WITH EGYPTIAN IN OSLO

Begin’s communications advisor, Dan Pattir, said today that the Premier will meet with Sadat’s personal representative in Oslo when he goes there to receive the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize over the weekend. Sadat, who shares the prize, announced last week that he would not attend the ceremonies but would send an emissary, Siad Marai, one of his advisors and a relative by marriage. Begin decided to accept the award in person despite Sadat’s absence and some criticism in Israel.

Pattir dismissed reports that the Norwegians are displeased that the Peace Prize is going to Begin. He said that, on the contrary, the Norwegian authorities are making every effort to receive Begin and the Egyptian emissary in the most friendly manner. Both will be feted at a festive dinner. But, as Pattir indicated, they will also meet privately. Begin will also have meetings with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Norway.

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