WASHINGTON (Feb. 12)
President Carter said today he would “consider” another summit conference with Israeli Premier Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat if the up coming ministerial meeting at Camp David beginning Feb. 21 did not resolve all the differences delaying on Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty.
But he told a press conference he hoped the meeting between Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, Israeli-Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan and Egyptian Prime Minister Mustapha Khalil would result in the two Middle East officials “routinely” going back to their countries for approval of an agreement reached at Camp David. If this “hope is realized,” there would be no need for a summit, Carter said.
The President, who was asked about a possible summit in the only question on the Egyptian-Israeli talks in a conference largely devoted to Iran, the energy crisis and other issues, stressed that achieving “a Mideast peace settlement is one of my fondest hopes and dreams” and “a personal commitment.” He said he spent “more time” on this problem than any other.
Carter said that 95 percent of the differences between Israel and Egypt were solved at the Camp David summit last September but the remaining five percent have “not proven easy.” He said he hoped the meeting between Khalil and Dayan at Camp David, where they would have “maximum … isolation from public statements,” would result in an agreement that could be taken back to Sadat and Begin and their governments and be approved without the need for further talks.
However, Carter indicated he expected that some points would still need to be settled and said he “might” then consider a summit if both sides showed “flexibility.” Carter also indicated as he did over the weekend, that he would meet with Khalil and Dayan. “I might visit with them” briefly, he said.