Egypt's President Anwar Sadat made a dramatic announcement in Cairo on Saturday (29 March) that the Suez canal would be re-opened on 5 June -- the eight anniversary of the start of the 1967 war with Israel.
SV INTERIOR President Sadat enters Cabinet meeting
SV Sadat and Hegazy entering room and taking seats (2 shots)
SV Hegazy and Sadat seated during talks with Cabinet (2 shots)
V INTERIOR President Sadat entering People's Assembly to loud applause
GV Members of Cabinet applauding as Sadat leaves rostrum and walks to microphone to make speech (2 shots)
CU Cameraman filming
SV Sadat making speech
CU ZOOM OUT Sadat on TV with family gathered around set
SV People in street listening to Sadat's speech on radio (3 shots)
CV INTERIOR Sadat receives tumultuous applause
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Background: Egypt's President Anwar Sadat made a dramatic announcement in Cairo on Saturday (29 March) that the Suez canal would be re-opened on 5 June -- the eight anniversary of the start of the 1967 war with Israel.
The canal was closed to shipping after this war and work on clearing the 100 mile (160-kilometre) waterway of bombs, mines, rockets and wrecks began nearly a year ago with British, United States', French, Soviet and Egyptian experts taking part.
The Suez Canal links the Mediterranean and Red Sea and was a major source of revenue for egypt, which nationalised the canal in 1956.
During his speech to the People's Assembly in Cairo President Sadat explained Egyptian policy in the wake of the collapse of the Middle East peace mission of United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. He said that as well as re-opening the canal Egypt had also decided to extend the mandata of the United Nations' peace-keeping force (UNEF) in Sinai for another three months.
Observers in Cairo say that the two gestures were apparently designed to show Egypt's peaceful intentions and to help towards ending the stalemate in Middle East peace efforts. The observers also say Egypt now expects Israel to make some reciprocal gesture towards peace.
But immediately President Sadat had finished his speech Egyptian Information Minister Kamal Abdul Magd said that Israeli ships would still be barred from sailing though the Suez Canal until a final Middle East settlement was reached.