Egyptian President Anwar Sadat made a major policy speech on home and foreign affairs to the Central Committee of the Arab Socialist Union in Cairo on Tuesday (20 June).
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat made a major policy speech on home and foreign affairs to the Central Committee of the Arab Socialist Union in Cairo on Tuesday (20 June). President Sadat outlined Egypt's future political structure, and referred to his government's recent ban on all criticism of the Cairo administration. He also commented on the latest developments in his search for a peace settlement with Israel.
SYNOPSIS: President Sadat's speech came after considerable criticism of his policies, both in Egypt and abroad. A national referendum last month approved measures to curb censure of the government in the press, and to ban all extreme left- and right-wing politicians from holding government office. President Sadat has also been criticised for the failure of his peace initiative with Israel.
President Sadat said he was launching a month-long debate on Egypt's political future. The decisions would be announced on the anniversary of the overthrow of the monarchy in 1952, on July 23rd. He accused left- and right-wing parties of attempting to seize power by causing unrest and discrediting his administration. Since the new laws banning criticism of the Egyptian government, two political parties, the right-wing New Wafd and the left-wing Ultra Progressive Party, have effectively dissolved themselves in protest. On Monday (19 June) the Egyptian Ambassador to Portugal, General Saad Shazli, was recalled to Cairo after he had branded the Sadat government as authoritarian.
On the question of a Middle East peace settlement, President Sadat said he was willing to resume direct negotiations with Israel. He said he was ready to discuss any Israeli proposals which could break the present deadlock, but he was not prepared to cede one inch of Egyptian territory. He added he was optimistic, even if Israel "does not respond favourably".