London (Aug. 4)
President Anwar Sadat of Egypt today urged Britain and the European Economic Community (EEC) to combine with the United States in bringing Israel and the Palestinians together “for a mutual and simultaneous recognition.”
Addressing a press conference after a two-day visit, Sadat described this as “the proper approach” to solving the Middle East question. He also stated that the cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians in south Lebanon could open the doors for a comprehensive peace settlement in the Mideast. He declared:
“Before I came here a great event had taken place, a cease-fire had been reached between Israel and the Palestinians for the first time since 1948 since Israel came into being. I consider this a turning point and the proper approach should be to build on this cease-fire towards the mutual and simultaneous recognition. This will open the doors for the comprehensive settlement that we are all after.”
Asked what role Britain could play, Sadat said he had discussed this yesterday with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Lord Carrington, the Foreign Secretary. Noting that Carrington was currently the chairman of the EEC for the next six months, Sadat said the United Kingdom’s role was “very important.” He also praised Saudi Arabia’s efforts, and those of the United States, in working towards the cease-fire.
CRITICAL OF BEGIN
Sadat also agreed with a questioner who had said that progress towards a settlement had been “undermined” by the “new militancy” of Israeli Premier Menachem Begin. The Israeli raid on Iraqs nuclear reactor and those on terrorist headquarters in Beirut were, he said, “very tragic action from the side of Israel — but this should not dishearten us. On the contrary, this should enhance our efforts to reaching peace.”
Sadat, who flew later today to the U.S., said he would ask the Americans to drop their condition of not contacting the Palestinians. “The PLO should not be excluded by the United States.”
Despite his criticism of Begin, Sadat said, “I have been convinced that the man is genuine for peace and strong enough.” He also stood by the Camp David agreements as long as there was no better alternative.
When he arrived for the press conference at the Egyptian Embassy, Sadat had been booed by Palestinians and Iranians, who shouted slogans and held banners. On emerging one hour later, to go to a farewell luncheon with the Queen, Sadat was surrounded by admirers who threw flowers at his car.