Begin-sadat Talks Start

Premier Menachem Begin left today for his 11th round of talks with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat from Atarot Airport near Jerusalem.

He was greeted at a small military airfield near Alexandria with full military honors and then rode through streets adorned with Israeli flags, at the last minute, along the famed Corniche seashore road through the port city for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on the seashore.

After a brief rest, Begin started the first of two scheduled tete-a-tete talks with Sadat at 4 P.M. local time. While the two leaders are in private conversation, the Ministers accompanying Begin will be meeting with their Egyptian counterparts — Defense Minister Ariel Sharon discussing details of Israel’s planned withdrawal from Sinai next April, Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir talking about the normalization process, and interior Minister Yosef Burg discussing the autonomy question.

Israeli reporters accompanying Begin said Begin is expected to tell Sadat that Israel completely rejects his idea that the Palestine Liberation Organization should be brought into the peace talks. They said Begin is likely to say that if Sadat continues to press this point, Israel will refuse to attend further talks. Israel is ready to have local West Bank leaders brought into the negotiations, but not official PLO representatives.

The day of Begin’s arrival in Egypt, Sadat dismissed his chief of military intelligence, naming him as Governor of Alexandria–regarded as a demotion. The head of Israel’s military intelligence, Gen. Yehoshua Saguy, who is accompanying Begin, is expected to meet with the new Egyptian army intelligence chief.

NEXT STORY