Israel’s New Envoy to Egypt Gets an All-out Official Welcome

Moshe Sasson, Israel’s new Ambassador to Egypt — its second since diplomatic relations were established in 1979 — presented his credentials to President Anwar Sadat today. The formal, ordinarily routine diplomatic ritual was conducted in a manner, and with media coverage, that indicated to Israeli Embassy sources in Cairo that Sadat went out of his way to demonstrate his commitment to the normalization of relations with Israel, despite the current tension between Israel and Syria.

Sadat received the new envoy only three days after his arrival in Cairo — much sooner than is usual — and Sasson was given a private audience. Customarily, Sadat receives several new ambassadors at a time, as was the case with Sasson’s predecessor, Eliahu Ben-Elissar.

His meeting with Sasson lasted 40 minutes, twice the usual time, and was attended by Foreign Minister Kamal Hassan Ali. The three engaged in lively conversation in Arabic, a language in which Sasson is fluent. The Israeli and Egyptian anthems were played.

Cairo radio stations led off their noon news bulletins with an account of the reception. Immediately afterwards, Sasson performed his first mission, which was to escort visiting Israeli Agriculture Minister Ariel Sharon. Sadat was to receive Sharon at Mit Abul Qam, the Nile delta village where the Egyptian leader was born. Sharon was reportedly bringing a message from Premier Menachem Begin. Its contents are not known.

Last night six Egyptian ministers attended a dinner in Sharon’s honor at the Nile Hilton Hotel in Cairo. Earlier, the Israeli minister met for 90 minutes with Hassan Ali. Sharon is visiting Egypt at the invitation of Agriculture Minister Mohammad Daoud and their purpose is to discuss agricultural cooperation between the two countries. The two men toured a 12,000-acre area yesterday which is to be irrigated with Israeli technology. They have already agreed on a joint project to grow tomatoes in an area west of Alexandria.

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