JERUSALEM (May. 22)
Premier Menachem Begin accused Boutros Ghali, Egypt’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, today of making statements that contradict the agreements he reached with President Anwar Sadat in Cairo last month, which Sadat later was to deny. He expressed his annoyance with Ghali to reporters at Ben Gurion Airport just before taking off for London on a three-day visit as the guest of Britain’s Jewish community.
Begin, who meets with Sadat at EI Arish on Sunday, took issue with Ghali’s statement that the normalization of relations between Egypt and Israel will begin only nine months from now, according to the Camp David agreements. This is not true, Begin said. He said that at his meeting with Sadat in Cairo after the signing of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty in Washington, they had agreed that a joint statement will be issued at EI Arish announcing the immediate opening of borders between Israel and Egypt and the opening of an air corridor between the two countries.
According to Begin, Ghali has made similar contradictory statements in the past. He said a month ago that normalization would take place only after 15 months. “Following that statement I called up President Sadat and complained. Sadat replied: ‘We have an agreement and I shall honor it. We agreed that in EI Arish we shall announce the opening of the borders and the opening of a civilian air corridor between Israel and Egypt’,” Begin said. He described Sadat as being “angry” with Ghali.
But only last night, Begin expressed anger with Sadat for reportedly accusing him of endangering the peace process by making provocative statements that embarrassed the Egyptian Teader. Begin spoke at Tel Aviv University after receiving an honorary doctorate degree. He referred to a remark by Egypt’s Deputy Premier to the effect that he would organize a march by one million Moslems to liberate Jerusalem. “I could also say to President Sadat, why do you embarrass me with these provocative statements?” Begin reiterated that “Jerusalem is ours forever and will never be divide” and that” a Palestinian state will not be set up on Judaea and Samaria.”
VIEW OF THE AUTONOMY PLAN
Begin is scheduled to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, who is also in London this week, for talks Thursday on the negotiations with Egypt on Palestinian autonomy set to open in Beersheba Friday. But he said, in reply to reporters’ questions at Ben Gurion Airport, that he would not introduce Israel’s autonomy plan to Vance at their London meeting.
The plan was approved by the Cabinet yesterday to serve as a “guideline” for the Israeli negotiating team. “We decided that we shall present the plan to the negotiators — that is the Egyptians and the Americans — only after a specific decision of the government,” he said.
Questioned about the wide gap between the Egyptian and Israeli positions on autonomy, Begin observed that all international negotiations begin with gaps between the parties. But he refused to say that the Israeli plan was only an opening position for bargaining purposes. “This is Israel’s position, period,” Begin said. “One should neither add nor subtract.”
While in London, Begin is scheduled to dine with Britain’s new Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and to meet with former Prime Minister James Callaghon, now leader of the opposition. He will also appear before various Jewish organizations. He said he intended to invite Mrs. Thatcher to visit Israel and that there was a standing invitation to Callaghan as well.