Washington (Aug. 9)
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat said today that there was “nothing new” in the peace plan proposed by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Fahd and that Saudi Arabia should “contribute” to Middle East peace efforts by joining the efforts now going on by the United States and Egypt.
“It will be the most easy thing for me, for instance, to sit in Cairo and say, well the United States has to do so and so, Mr. (Menachem) Begin ought to do so and so,” Sadat said in answering questions on Fahd’s eight-point proposal on NBC-TV’s “Meet the Press.” Sadat said that it was “not at all” true as Fahd said that the Camp David peace process was a failure and urged Fahd to join in the peace process.
The Egyptian President also rejected news reports that Fahd’s proposal was the first time Saudi Arabia had offered to recognize Israel. “This is not the first time,” Sadat said. He noted that when Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries met in Baghdad after the Camp David agreements in 1979 to plan efforts to “choke” Egypt economically, they offered to recognize Israel at that time under certain conditions. Sadat also noted that Fahd had rejected the Camp David agreements “even before the text” was made public.
PRAISES SAUDI, U.S. ROLE IN CEASE-FIRE
However, Sadat praised Saudi Arabia as well as the United States for their efforts in obtaining the “cease-fire” across the Israeli-Lebanese border. He repeated what he said throughout his six-day visit to the U.S. that the cease-fire was the first step in Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization recognizing each other and that the U.S. should drop its 1975 promise to Israel not to deal with the PLO.
But he noted that he did not expect “an immediate answer” from President Reagan and said he thought it was “fair” to wait until Reagan meets with Begin in September and Fahd and King Hussein of Jordon this fall.
Sadat also repeated his remarks that the “PLO is not the sole representative of the Palestinians.” He noted that the mayors elected in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are all PLO members and that talks could begin with them. He added that “unfortunately,” Egypt has no relations with the PLO at present since the PLO is constantly attacking Egypt.
Sadat said that he had achieved the most important aim of his visit, which was to establish friendly relations with the U.S. He was pleased that the Administration was committed to continuing the Camp David process and considered Egypt “a full partner” in these efforts.
Sadat said that in his meetings with members of the Senate and the House, he had urged them to sup-
port the Reagan Administration’s proposal to sell five AWACS reconnaissance planes to Saudi Arabia. He said that the Middle East region is the “most explosive in the whole world” and the AWACS are needed to safeguard not only Saudi Arabia, but other friendly countries in the area.
He revealed that because of the threat that Egypt feels from the 60 Soviet-made MIG-25s in Libya, the U.S. provided one of the four AWACS now stationed in Saudi Arabia to safeguard his recent visit to the Sudan.
But Sadat said that Egypt will not allow the U.S. to use the two air bases Israel is vacating in the Sinai although it has offered the U.S. the use of bases all over Egypt. He said the reason is that “I don’t want any shade of doubt” that the Sinai is being turned over to Egypt. He denied that he had any apprehension that Israel might not complete its final withdrawal from the Sinai by next April.
Sadat denied that he had asked the Reagan Administration for more economic and military aid for Egypt. He said in his talks with members of the Senate and House, he had asked for “equal treatment” with Israel, although not necessarily the same volume of aid.