New York (Aug. 9)
President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and a delegation of 13 Jewish leaders, who met last Friday afternoon at the residence of Egypt’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Ahmed Abdel Meguid, disagreed on the issue of Palestine Liberation Organization recognition.
Following the 70-minute meeting, Howard Squadron, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told reporters that the Egyptian President said that the cease-fire between Israel and Palestinians in Lebanon was “a turning point” and a clear indication that the Palestinian movement has decided to accept responsibility and move in a new direction.
Squadron said that Sadat urged that Israel and the United States should build on the ceasefire in Lebanon and deal directly with the PLO. “We told him,” Squadron said, “that the PLO is a terrorist organization bent on the destruction of Israel and that it should recognize Israel’s right to exist first.”
The delegation, which was headed by Edgar Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress, and Squadron, also discussed with Sadat the issues of autonomy and the AWACS sale by the United States to Saudi Arabia.
Squadron said that Sadat agreed with the Jewish leaders that the conclusion of the autonomy talks for the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is essential to the progress of peace in the region and it should be concluded as soon as possible, Sadat, Squadron said, also agreed that Jerusalem was a separate issue that should be dealt with on a separate basis and not as part of the autonomy negotiations.
DIFFER ON SALE OF AWACS
The Jewish leaders told Sadat of their strong opposition to the sale of AWACS reconnaissance planes to Saudi Arabia, explaining that Saudi Arabia is against the Camp David peace process and is one of the major supporters of the PLO. The meeting between the Jewish leaders and Sadat, which was also attended by Egyptian Ambassador to the United States, Ashraf Ghorbal, was described as “cordial and warm.” It lasted 25 minutes more than originally planned. Before the meeting, Sadat met privately with Bronfman and Squadron and invited them to pay an official visit to Egypt later this fall. The two Jewish leaders accepted the invitation.
Following his meeting with the Jewish leaders, Sadat was the guest of honor at a reception attended by more than 600 people at the Temple Of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Sackler Wing. During the reception, Mayor Edward Koch presented Sadat with New York City’s highest honor, the Gold Medal. About 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators, chanting “Down With Sadat,” gathered in front of the museum during the ceremony.