• Short Summary

    President Anwar Sadat of Egypt hopes to visit Israel within a week. He announced this?

  • Description

    CU: President Sadat being interviewed by CBC reporter David Halton.

    HALTON: "How essential in your view is it that Israel recognises the PLO?"

    PRESIDENT SADAT: "It is a fact. The PLO is a fact and recognised even by the United Nations and the whole public opinion of the whole world."

    HALTON: "The Israelis have also said they won't even countenance the idea of a mini Palestinian state on the West Bank of Gaza. Do you now see the only solution to the Palestinian problem as being an autonomous Palestinian area within a federal Jordan?"

    SADAT: "I have declared this. I have declared this and I insisted that a certain connection should take place between the new Palestinian state and Jordan, either as confederation, or this federation, as a united Arab state or any other form the two parties agree to. And insisting also that this should take place before Geneva convenes - any place, for both sides agree with me, King Hussein and the PLO. The only difference between me and the PLO is that they say: 'let's postpone this until the Palestinian allied state is created and then after that we negotiate this with King Hussein'. But I am still insisting that there should be an official connection declared and known before Geneva convenes."

    HALTON: "You have staked your own political position in Egypt on achieving a peace with Israel and improving living standards here. If you can't deliver the goods, surely your own position domestically becomes very shaky."

    SADAT: "I never calculate like this. As I told you, they gave me from four to six weeks after Nasser. I never do my calculations on the chair that I am sitting on, but I assure you of one fact: my people are one hundred percent behind me or I wouldn't have dared to make such initiatives that I have made since '71 until now, '77."

    Observers expect Syrian President Hafez al-Assad to speak of Syria's concern at Egypt's apparent willingness to deal directly with Israel. The two Arab leaders began private talks in Damascus on Wednesday afternoon (November 16). Syria is reported to be worried in case Egypt is planning to negotiate peace agreement. The Syrian-backed Saiqa Palestinian commandos issued a statement in Beirut claiming Mr. Sadat was acting "in defiance of the entire Arab nation in general and the Egyptian and Palestinian peoples in particular.". In Baghdad, Iraq's ruling Baath party termed the Egyptian leader's initiative as "a serious deviation" which the Arabs could not endorse.

    Initials SJ/2250


    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: President Anwar Sadat of Egypt hopes to visit Israel within a week. He announced this in Cairo today (November 16) before leaving for Damascus for talks with Syrian President Hafez al-Assad. President Sadat first proposed the unprecedented visit last week and the idea was immediately welcomed by Israel. An official Israeli invitation was given to the Americans to transmit but Egypt has not yet confirmed whether it has been received in Cairo. In a television interview on Monday (14 November), President Sadat said there had never been a moment in which the Arabs were prepared for peace like this moment. He also gave his views on a Palestinian homelands to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reporter, David Halton.

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