TORONTO (Sep. 17)
Israel Industry Minister Gideon Patt disclosed here yesterday that commercial and industrial relations between Israel and Egypt are moving forward “at a more rapid pace than envisioned after the signing of the Camp David agreements, ” and that “normalization” between both countries is proceeding ahead of schedule.
He said that Israel and Egypt “are now one, as far as the well-being of the Middle East is concerned,” and that they have agreed to enter into “joint interdependent economic projects in the Negev and Sinai regions that will benefit both countries.”
Addressing more than 1000 U.S. and Canadian delegates to the 1979 Israel Bond International Leadership Conference meeting at the Royal York Hotel, Patt cifed as examples of the type of cooperation that will soon be implemented the development of housing, food processing plants, sharing of water supplies and other interdependent industries where goods and services will be exchanged between the areas of Sinai and the Negev.
He said he had discussed the strengthening of Israeli-Egyptian commercial ties with President Anwar Sadat during his visit earlier this month in Haifa where the Egyptian leader renewed his peace talks with Premier Menachem Begin. “This naturally opens new horizons for the Israeli economy,” Patt said.
The Israeli Minister stated that trust between the two countries “is definitely growing and that is very important in the process of normalization.”He cited as a sign of “normalization” the fact that “there are many Egyptian businessmen already coming to Israel to place orders for industrial and agricultural products.” Patt noted that in “entering an era of great economic cooperation with Egypt” a “greater cooperation with Africa” will also develop.
At the conclusion of their four-day conference, the Israel Bond leaders officially launched the $1 billion Economic Development for Peace Loan which will help in providing some of the funds needed to transform 4500 square miles of the Negev desert region into industrial and civilian complexes.