Washington (Aug. 5)
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat began outlining the “elements of a scenario” for advancing the Camp David peace process during his nearly two hours of talks with President Reagan at the White House today, a senior Administration official said.
The official said Sadat is expected to expand on his proposals at separate meetings with Secretary of State Alexander Haig and Vice President George Bush today and at his final meeting with Reagan tomorrow morning. A joint statement is expected to be issued after that meeting.
Sadat told Reagan that the Camp David peace process called for autonomy for the Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza Strip at the end of five years, the senior official said. He said that while Sadat said progress on autonomy was “important,” he did not express a sense of urgency.
The official, however, said that Sadat seemed to imply that movement should begin by the end of the year after Reagan meets with Israeli Premier Menachem Begin in September and King Hussein of Jordan and Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia in the fall.
MUST CONSIDER VIEWS OF OTHER PARTIES
Sadat told Reagan that he understands that movement toward a comprehensive Mideast peace must take into consideration the views of other parties and public opinion in other countries, including Israel and the United States. But Sadat stressed that there were “lots of variations, lots of options” but that the basis of success is that “the parties be on the same wavelength, particularly Egypt and the United States.”
From the briefing, Reagan appeared to have listened more than he talked as Sadat outlined his proposals. This appeared to be the case, too, as Reagan escorted Sadat to his car after their talks. Sadat was talking away and Reagan was listening.
The Administration official said that Sadat repeated his remarks, made in London yesterday, that the cease-fire across the Lebanese-Israeli border achieved a new step in the peace process but that he did not specifically ask that the Palestinian Liberation Organization be brought into the talks, although he did mention that the Palestinians were to have been brought into the negotiations in the third year of the Camp David process.
The official said the two Presidents also spoke of bringing other parties into the peace process, including Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other “moderate” Arab states. Both Presidents praised Saudi Arabia’s role in the Israeli-Lebanon cease-fire.
Nevertheless, Sadat later told reporters that he had urged Reagan at their first meeting today to recognize the PLO as part of a major effort to bring about a comprehensive Mideast peace settlement. He told reporters he asked the President to drop the American promise made to Israel in 1975 not to recognize the PLO until the PLO accepted Israel’s right to exist. Referring to the cease-fire which the U.S. helped to arrange, Sadat said: “Why shouldn’t the United State build on this and drop the condition of the second disengagement agreement (between Egypt and Israel) which prevents the United States from contacting the PLO?”
This morning’s meeting between Reagan and Sadat was actually two separate meetings. The first, which lasted 50 minutes, included Haig, Bush and National Security Advisor Richard Allen, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamal Hassan Ali, and two of his aides. The second meeting, which was confined to the Mideast peace process, included additional American and Egyptian officials, including Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger.
During the first meeting, Reagan stressed the concept of regional security and the major threat to the area from the Soviet Union.
SADAT PRAISES U.S. HELP
Sadat thanked the President in the name of the people of Egypt for the help the United States has given Egypt since 1973. He noted the reopening of the Suez Canal brought badly-needed revenues to Egypt which were used to help its troubled economy. He also said that the return of the Sinai oil fields to Egypt has been of great benefit to his country.
Sadat said he was particularly “grateful” that Reagan has used the term “partner” in referring to Egypt in his welcoming address on the South Lawn of the White House. “We consider that we are in your debt,” Sadat was quoted as saying. He spoke of countries wanting to “choke” Egypt and said the United States has helped Egypt to “live free.”
The Administration official said that at one point maps of the Mideast were displayed and that Sadat gave Reagan a “substantial strategic briefing” of the area as seen by Egypt, particularly what Cairo views as its encirclement by adversaries. Sadat spoke of the “Vietnam complex” the official said, and Reagan replied that the United States no longer suffers from “the so-called Vietnam syndrome.”
HECTIC SCHEDULE FOR SADAT
Sadat and Reagan will meet again tonight at a White House dinner hosted by the President and Mrs. Reagan and again tomorrow in the Oval Office. Sadat is also scheduled to meet again with Haig tomorrow, with CIA director William Casey, have a luncheon meeting with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and then meet with the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Sadat is expected to discuss economic aid to Egypt when he meets late tomorrow afternoon at Blair House with Treasury Secretary Donald Regan, and will make a direct pitch for American investment when he meets with American businessmen Friday morning at a meeting hosted by the United States-Egypt Business Council.
Sadat will hold a press conference late tomorrow afternoon, he will receive an honorary degree from Georgetown University Saturday and will appear on NBC-TV’s ‘Meet the Press” Sunday. He will fly to Plains, Georgia Sunday afternoon for a private meeting with former President Carter before he leaves for Egypt via Vienna. Sadat is also expected to meet with former President Ford in Washington.