Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin said in Geneva on Wednesday (8 February) there were good hopes for a Middle-East peace settlement between his country and Egypt, but warned that any sale of sophisticated fighter aircraft to Egypt by the United States could endanger stability in the region.
GV: Israeli aircraft taxiing at Geneva airport.
CU: Armed guard PAN TO aircraft.
SV: Prime Minister Menachem Begin and party down from aircraft, welcomed by Israeli ambassador Vaacov Shimoni.
SV: Mr. Begin shaking hands with diplomats, walks up to newsmen and makes statement in English (SOF begins at 57 seconds). He finishes speaking and walks to car.
GV: Armed escort heads motorcade across tarmac.
MR BEGIN: "I have been to Switzerland scores of times since 1948, usually on a private visit. This is the first time I have come to this beautiful country as the elected Prime Minister of Israel and, therefore, it is quite an event in my life. I am very grateful for the hospitality accorded to me in Switzerland. My mission here is to meet the representatives of the Jewish communities in Western Europe for the purpose of augmenting the efforts to solve a social problem in our country, namely of 45,000 families which still live in abject housing conditions. May I say, on behalf of the government of Israel, we want to conclude peace and wage war on poverty. Thank you."
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Background: Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin said in Geneva on Wednesday (8 February) there were good hopes for a Middle-East peace settlement between his country and Egypt, but warned that any sale of sophisticated fighter aircraft to Egypt by the United States could endanger stability in the region.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Begin was speaking to pressmen shortly after arriving in Switzerland for a conference of European Jewish leaders. He said he had every reason to believe peace moves would continue.
This was Mr. Begin's first visit to Switzerland as Prime Minister. It followed soon after the visit by his Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan, when Mr. Dayan revealed that Israel was supplying arms to Ethiopia to aid its struggle in the Ogaden Desert. Among those at Geneva airport to meet Mr. Begin's party was the Israeli Ambassador to Switzerland, Mr. Vaacov Shimoni.
Mr. Begin said he did not intend to meet any Arab or European leaders during his visit. Its purpose was to discuss fund-raising plans to finance a slum clearance project in Israel.
At the news conference, Mr. Begin had rejected accusations of Israeli stubbornness made by Egypt's President Sadat recently in the United States.