Paris (Oct. 14)
Foreign Minister Claude Cheysson has provoked a storm of protests after he declared that Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s death “removes an obstacle to a rapprochement between Egypt and the Arab world.” The Minister, in a radio interview Sunday night, said that such a rapprochement could lead to improved prospects for an overall peace settlement in the Middle East.
Cheysson deplored Sadat’s “tragic death” but seemed to imply that the Egyptian President’s death could nonetheless serve the cause of peace as his successor could enable Egypt to return to the Arab fold. He said that peace could come only when all the Arabs, including Egypt, will negotiate with Israel for a lasting agreement. The Franco-Israeli Alliance called Cheysson’s statement “indecent and absurd.” The organization, whose aim is to foster Franco-Israeli friendship, said that Cheysson “added insult to injury and struck a blow at Sadat after his death.”
The mass circulation evening paper, France-Soir, termed the Minister’s declaration “mad and illogical” while the conservative morning paper, Le Figaro, stressed that Cheysson was “the first Western leader to find something positive in Sadat’s assassination.”