Both the Israeli and Egyptian cabinets have approved the proposed Middle East peace treaty hammered out during six days of intensive negotiations spearheaded by United States President Jimmy Carter.
CU (Tel Aviv) Israeli Defence Minister Ezer Weizman speaking
CU woman taking notes
SV Weizman leaving room
SV PAN Weizman up aircraft steps
SV (Egypt) people looking at maps
GV & SV PAN Egyptian cabinet meeting in progress (TWO SHOTS)
SV PAN Egyptian President Anwar Sadat walking past camera
CU Sadat speaking
SV Sadat walking away from camera
SV (United Nations) PLO spokesman Zehdi Terzie seated listening to question from reporter and answering
WEIZMAN: "The main problem will be that we're beginning a new era that none of us have experienced before. Unfortunately we're all experienced with before, during and after battle. Now we're experienced before peace, we're going to be experiencing now during peace - I hope it will not be after. Therefore the life and the normalisation of life between Egypt and us in all its aspects -- the first impact will be with the military -- thank God for the first time without shooting at each other -- and how we withdraw and how we contact each other, how we prevent mishaps. But then the main issue will be the two countries can benefit from each other so that there will be normal, pleasant neighbourhood."
HART: "It's been reported that Weizman will negotiate for an increase in the money the United States is supplying israel for evacuating the occupied Sinai. Originally three-and-a-half billion had been agree to for building new air bases in Israel to replace the ones they're giving up in the Sinai. But in the final stages of the negotiations the United States agreed to raise the figure to just under four billion dollars."
SADAT: "President Carter -- we owe him a lot, so I think this is quite natural that we make the main celebrations were in Washington and especially after the man has done the whole thing really in such a marvellous way."
REPORTER: "You think it will be signed next week Sir?"
SADAT: "Let us hope so. Because immediately after the Knesset approves I think President Carter will be submitting the invitations. But let me tell you this, invited or not invited I shall be going to Washington."
REPORTER: "Do you foresee any difficulties Sir?"
SADAT: "Let us hope that there will be no other difficulties or -- left me say this, I think we have achieved peace and thank to Jimmy."
REPORTER: "Mr. Terzie, what's been your reaction to President Carter's peace-making efforts and to the situation in general?"
TERZIE: "The question is this -- is Mr. Carter really endeavouring to get peace and a comprehensive people in the Middle East or not? Now from our readings and the way things have been going, President Carter is not on the path towards peace. He is after a bi-lateral agreement between Egypt and Israel. There is a consensus -- an international consensus -- that the question of Palestine is the core of the conflict in the Middle East -- and in this arrangement between Carter and his accomplices the question of Palestine is not dealt with. Neither are the unalienable rights of the Palestinian people, so we cannot really conceive of peace without satisfying and doing justice to the Palestinian people and the question of Palestine."
Other Arab states have already voiced their disapproval on the proposed treaty. On Thursday Saudi newspapers attacked it, saying it would not bring real peace to the region. In Beirut an English language newspaper published a cartoon showing President Carter being carried up a domestic popularity poll on the back of a sweating, dejected Arab -- Iraq said it would call for a meeting of Arab Foreign and Economy Ministers to discuss sanctions against Egypt -- and in Rome the Head of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Libyan Jamahiriyah's General People's Congress, Ahmed Shahati, told a news conference the accord could bring new tensions in the Middle East. Jordan's King Hussein did not refer directly to the treaty, but called for support for the Palestinian people -- and the commander of the 400-man Iranian army unit withdrawing from the United Nations force in the Golan Heights said his men longed to go to Damascus to fight on Syria's side against Israel.
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Background: Both the Israeli and Egyptian cabinets have approved the proposed Middle East peace treaty hammered out during six days of intensive negotiations spearheaded by United States President Jimmy Carter. When he announced the Egyptian cabinet's endorsement of the package on Thursday (15 March) Prime Minister Mustapha Khalil said approval was unanimous. According to Reuters news agency, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minster Menachem Begin are expected to fly to Washington for the first of a series of signing ceremonies next week, but in the meantime their respective Defence Ministers are conferring in Washington to finalise plans for Israeli troops withdrawal from the Sinai peninsula. Before he left Jerusalem Israeli Defence Minister Ezer Weizman spoke about a "new era" facing both countries -- and in Cairo on Thursday President Sadat paid tribute to President Carter. However, in sharp contrast to the israeli and Egyptian mood, at the United Nations the Palestine Liberation Organisation observer Zehdi Terzie was critical of the whole peace making process. The reporter summing up financial aspects of the settlement is NBC's John Hart.
SYNOPSIS: The Egyptian cabinet took a close look at the strategic planning involved in the Israeli withdrawal from Sinai. The five hour meeting ended with not only the endorsement of the treaty, but also of a letter linking the future of the pact with the future of the Palestinians. Prime Minister Khalil said Egypt had prepared secret contingency plans to deal with any possible retaliation from Arab states opposed to the treaty. later president Sadat spoke of his feelings towards Jimmy Carter.
But at the United nations Mr. Terzie expressed an opposite point of view.