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Begin Hopes the Peace Process Will Continue As Sadat ‘would Wish with All His Heart’

Premier Menachem Begin said tonight, “We hope that the peace process, despite the cruel act of its enemies, will continue as we know President Sadat would wish with all his heart.” With those words, the Premier, looking weary and haggard, ended his official announcement to the press on the death of President Anwar Sadat of Egypt who was assassinated this morning.

Begin met with reporters after Cairo officially confirmed that Sadat died of his wounds. He read the statement twice — once in Hebrew and once in English — in a low voice filled with emotion.

He said the Egyptian leader had fallen “victim to a criminal assassination. President Sadat was murdered by the enemies of peace…I therefore lost today, together with the people of Israel, not only a partner in the peace process but a friend.” He offered his condolences to the President’s wife, Jihan Sadat, and their family.

Begin referred to Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem in November, 1977, which initiated the peace process as “one of the great events of our time.” The Egyptian leader, he declared, had paid no heed to the abuse heaped upon him as he walked “the difficult road to peace” with Begin and President Carter at Camp David. Millions of peace-lovers around the world rejoiced at the Camp David accords and at the signing of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, Begin said.

A government spokesman announced later that the Cabinet would meet in special session tomorrow to discuss the political implications of Sadat’s death.

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