On Monday (2 April), Menachem Begin, the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit Cairo, arrived in Egypt to a low-key reception marked by tight security and the absence of popular welcome.
On Monday (2 April), Menachem Begin, the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit Cairo, arrived in Egypt to a low-key reception marked by tight security and the absence of popular welcome. During his two day visit, Mr. Begin will tour the pyramids, visit Egypt's small Jewish community and have a round of talks with President Anwar Sadat.
SYNOPSIS: The Israeli Prime Minister's visit to Cairo was carried live by Egyptian state television. A commentator said Mr. Begin's trip was not a working visit, but a sign of the determination of Egypt and Israel to implement the peace treaty. Mr. Begin was greeted at Cairo Airport by Vice-President Hosni Mubarak and other members of the cabinet.
Following the recent Baghdad conference, almost all Arab ambassadors had left the Egyptian capital by the time Mr. Begin arrived. A band of the Egyptian Presidential Guard played the Israeli national anthem -- the first time it has been performed officially in an Arab country.
The pyramids area was cordoned off eight hours before Mr. Begin's arrival later in the day. He had been to Mr. Sadat's nearby rest home for refreshments before his arrival. And the approaches to the pyramids were watered to keep dust down, with temperatures rising to 107 degrees fahrenheit (42 centigrade). The Israeli Prime Minister called his visit to the ancient tombs of Egyptian pharaohs one of the greatest experiences of his life.
Mr. Begin and his party later explored the inside of a pyramid. Mr. Begin said the purpose of his visit was to say "salam" (peace) to the Egyptian people. He told newsmen he hoped one day that all Arab countries would participate in a Middle East peace.