Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Egypt, Israel Agree to Try to Break Deadlock in Treaty Talks

December 26, 1978
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Egypt and Israel agreed yesterday to remain in contact through Secretary of State Cyrus Vance in order to try and break the current deadlock and resume peace talks. After a three-and-a-half hour meeting here Vance read a brief statement indicating that no concrete results were reached, neither as to the level of the negotiators nor the subjects to be discussed. Vance said in his statement that Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan and Egyptian Premier Mustapha Khalil had had “a useful and full exchange of all the issues.”

Observers here stressed that the word “cordial” or “understanding” was not mentioned. Diplomatic sources also indicated that the two sides, Israel and Egypt, remained in their pre-stated positions; Dayan stressing that he is prepared to discuss only the “mechanisms” of the future talks and Khalil wanting to analyze the issues at stake.

The two sides agreed, however, according to these sources, to keep a period of relative silence in order to enable tempers to calm down and obtain an atmosphere more conducive to the resumption of the talks.

Prior to yesterday’s trilateral session, Vance met separately with Dayan and Khalil Saturday night. The Secretary of State arrived in Brussels late from his meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko in Geneva on the SALT talks. In his absence, the Israeli and Egyptian diplomats got together informally Saturday evening. Dayan and Khalil and their advisors met for 30 minutes in the Egyptian’s hotel suite and then dined together in the hotel restaurant. They were seen chatting and occasionally laughing together.

But despite the apparently relaxed atmosphere, Israeli and Egyptian sources said their positions were still for apart. In Cairo, several important officials, including the Defense Minister, said the Egyptian position has not changed since the peace talks broke down. The Cairo magazine, “October,” reported that President Anwar Sadat has written to a number of Arab leaders pledging that he would not forget the rights of the Palestinians and Egypt’s obligation to their cause.


In Brussels. Dayan told three West European Foreign Ministers Friday that Israel has no intention whatever of giving up the West Bank and Gaza Strip or withdrawing its troops from those territories. He was quoted by diplomatic sources as saying, “We have differences with the Arabs, we have differences with America and we might have differences with you (the West Europeans) as well. But even if the whole world is against us, we will not give up the West Bank or Gaza or accept the creation of a Palestinian state or a Palestinian entity.”

Dayan also reportedly said after the initial freeze on new settlements in the occupied territories, Israel intends to resume settlement activity “and have Jews and Arabs live side by side without displacing the Arabs or chasing them off their lands.” Yet, despite the hardening of positions on both sides, both the Israeli and Egyptian delegations stressed their desire to continue their talks convinced that “a peace treaty will be signed” in a relatively short time and the U.S. will continue its mediation efforts to bring that about.

Recommended from JTA