JERUSALEM (Mar. 11)
In a last ditch effort to prevent his dramatic effort from foundering, President Carter was said tonight to be considering sending Secretary of State Cyrus Vance back to Cairo tomorrow to see whether President Anwar Sadat will climb down from his demands. Carter was reported to have said that if any hope for success develops in the Vance-Sadat talk, he will remain in Israel to achieve the Egyptian-Israeli agreement that has thus for eluded the three countries.
A usually well-informed U.S. source said that Carter will return home and tell Americans that by his Middle East trip he has gone the “last mile” to bridge Israeli-Egyptian differences and he has been unable to do so because “they are intransigent over there.”
Meanwhile, the fate of the Israel-Egypt peace process hung in the balance late tonight as the Cabinet prepared for a marathon nocturnal meeting following an arduous day of talks with Carter and his top aides. Both Premier Menachem Begin and Carter indicated after the day’s talks that key issues remained unresolved, but the process was continuing.
Sources here confirmed today that Egypt had not accepted three American proposals endorsed by Israel’s Cabinet last week, namely, the issues of linkage, priority of obligations and autonomy. These issues comprised the burden of today’s talks. Two other unresolved issues — exchange of ambassadors and sale of Sinai oil to Israel — are also under discussion and, it is understood, still awaiting a formula that could resolve them.