President Sadat of Egypt has personally rebuked foreign correspondents for their reporting of a referendum in which he proposed a crackdown on Communists and other critics of his government.
GV EXT President Sadat's rest home
CU President Sadat at news conference speaking in English
TRANSCRIPT: REPORTER: "I wonder if you could clarify the confusion that we have. It seems to many of us that this is inconsistent with your promise that democracy will not be affected, that democracy is moving forward, because it proves that there is a clamp on freedom of expression. Could you please explain this fro us?"
SEQ. 2: SADAT: "For sure. As an answer to this, about the five journalists that we mentioned, I also told you this. First of all I must tell you something about our permanent constitution. I have started what is termed (indistinct) systems that we had before (indistinct) I have started what we call the institutional system. This institutional system will have three institutions, the executives, the legislative and the juridicial, and in the last stage of the referendum my people have agreed upon a (indistinct) institution and this is (indistinct). You have above all those, our formal constitution that has been drafted and agreed upon in '771 for seven years now.
Let me tell you this: I never made any action against this constitution. When you read this constitution you will see in this that it is much more progressive than any democratic constitution. For.......instance (indistinct) the President cannot disband the Parliament. In Great Britain the Queen can disband the Parliament after one hour whenever the Prime Minister asks for this."
President Sadat also told the news conference that he expected a result in the stalled peace talks with Israel within two months -- after progress or failure. Replying to a question on the possibility of an Arab summit conference in the near future, he said he would like such a conference to take place in about two months' time. By then, he said, it would be clear whether his peace initiative was likely to succeed, or whether It was a failure. President Sadat blamed Israel for obstructing the peace initiative. He said Egypt was ready to resume talks once Israel produced new ideas. But he complained that Israel had not changed its position on the peace talks since January.
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Background: President Sadat of Egypt has personally rebuked foreign correspondents for their reporting of a referendum in which he proposed a crackdown on Communists and other critics of his government. He singled out a correspondent of the London "Times" and criticised "London radio", believed to be a reference to the British Broadcasting Corporation. President Sadat said he was displeased with the foreign press and radio coverage of the referendum, in which officials said he won a 98-point-29 per cent vote in favour of sweeping measures to clamp down on political opponents.
SYNOPSIS: President Sadat was speaking at a news conference at his rest home outside Cairo on Tuesday (30 May).