WASHINGTON (Nov. 13)
President Carter and Israeli Premier Menachem Begin had a 45-minute farewell meeting at the White House today and then emerged to praise the Camp David accords and urge its continuation as a binding treaty. But neither leader as they met reporters mentioned the possibility of a summit conference with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.
However, Carter was asked about this at a press conference yesterday and replied that if the upcoming autonomy negotiations are successful “there would be a possibility — unlikely possibility — that a summit would take place prior to the inauguration. I doubt that this would be the case,” he said.
But today, meeting with reporters; Carter and Begin stressed their past accomplishments. The President said his work on the Middle East “has been one of the most difficult, time consuming, but one of the most gratifying experiences I have had as President. In my judgement, there is a general recognition in our two countries and indeed around the world of the close interrelationship between our two nations that is unshakable and is predicated not only on the identity of the leaders but on the strong beliefs shared by the peoples of the two countries.
“I think there has been an enhanced realization of the strategic value to our country of a strong, peaceful and democratic nation like Israel in the troubled region of the Middle East, ” Carter said.
Praising the Camp David accords, Carter declared “there is no viable alternative extant to the continuation of the Camp David talks and we are committed to that response.”
Begin agreed that the Camp David agreements would be carried on. “We have to find a way for the realization of the agreement for the full autonomy of the Palestinian Arabs in Judaea, Samaria and the Gaza district,” the Premier said. “We have made progress and in this direction we shall continue our efforts, namely, to be faithful to what we have achieved, written and signed at Camp David and carry out the commitments of all the three countries.”
BEGIN FETED BY ISRAELI ENVOY
At his press conference yesterday, Carter noted that his special Middle East envoy, Sol Linowitz, is scheduled to return to the region for a continuation of autonomy negotiations. “That was supposed to be the pre-summit conference,” Carter said. He then suggested if those talks were successful a summit still might be held, although he doubted it.
Begin met privately with Linowitz after arriving in Washington yesterday. He was also the guest of honor at a reception given last night by Ambassador Ephraim Evron. Begin was scheduled to address the dedication of a new Israeli Embassy here this afternoon.