President Hafez al-Assad of Syria and President Anwar sadat of Egypt have begun talks in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, as part of a concerted political effort to bring peace to the Middle East.
GV: President Assad and others down aircraft steps and greeted by President Sadat.
GV: Assad Sadat walking across tarmac.
SV: both Presidents inspecting guard of honour. (3 shots)
SV INTERIOR: Sadat and Assad seated in airport lounge talking.
Syria and Egypt fell out over President Sadat's signature last year of the second disengagement agreement with Israel which resulted in Egypt regaining its major oil fields and part of the Sinai peninsula. According to Reuters reporting from Cairo, the talks are also likely to cover the possible establishment of an independent Palestinian mini-state alongside Israel - an idea now favoured by majority opinion in the PLO.
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Background: President Hafez al-Assad of Syria and President Anwar sadat of Egypt have begun talks in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, as part of a concerted political effort to bring peace to the Middle East.
SYNOPSIS: President Assad arrived in Egypt on Saturday (18 December) on his first official visit for bilateral talks since before the Arab-Israeli war of 1973. Before October this year, President Assad had been a vocal critic of the Egyptian leader's moderate policies on the Middle East.
During the 1973 war, Egypt an Syria and been allies against Israel. Although no agenda has been published for the talks in Cairo, Egyptian sources suggested that the two Presidents would discuss efforts to reconvene the Geneva Middle East Peace Conference.
However, the difficulties facing them in achieving a final settlement of the Arab-Israeli dispute was highlighted by the Palestine Liberation Organisation's recent rejection of a suggestion that the Palestinians should be included in a single Arab delegation at Geneva if the conference is reconvened.
Earlier this month the United Nations called for the Geneva Conference to be reconvened and passed an additional resolution explicitly asking for the PLO to be included. The Cairo talks between the two Presidents follows the Arab summit meetings in Riyadh and Cairo which reconciled Egypt and Syria.