On Sunday (25 December) Israeli premier, Menachem Begin met his Egyptian counterpart, President Anwar Sadat for crucial peace talks on the Middle East.
On Sunday (25 December) Israeli premier, Menachem Begin met his Egyptian counterpart, President Anwar Sadat for crucial peace talks on the Middle East. The talks took place at the Egyptian President's rest house in the Egyptian town of Ismailia, which overlooks the Suez Canal. The historic meeting on Egyptian soil followed President Sadat's peace-seeking visit to Israel last month.
SYNOPSIS: On arrival at Abu Suweir air base, about 15 kilometres from Ismailia, Mr. Begin became the first Israeli Prime Minister ever to be welcomed in an Arab state. Ironically his pilot had bombed the base before.
From there Mr. Begin, accompanied by senior Israeli government ministers, was flown by helicopter to President Sadat's rest house.
The talks began immediately and before they broke for lunch, the two leaders had agreed that peace negotiations would continue at foreign and defence minister level after their summit had finished. They also decided to raise the level of the wider peace talks being held in Cairo. Reuters say this means that the foreign ministers of both countries will become involved.
For the Egyptian leader, it was another day of triumph. He was celebrating his 59th birthday and he had just been named "Man of the Year" by Time Magazine for his recent peace initiatives. Questioned by newsmen, as Mr. Begin looked on, Mr. Sadat said that the talks had started well, but he would give no specific details of what concessions the Israelis were prepared to make to ensure peace. Nor would Mr. Begin when newsmen turned their attention to him.