President Anwar Sadat said today that he would claim billions of dollars in compensation for lost Egyptian revenues as part of any Middle East peace settlement.
He said he wanted $2.1 billion for what he claimed was the value of the oil pumped out of Egypt's fields in the Sinal in the eight years they were under Israeli control, unspecified further compensation for lost Suez Canal tolls and other damages.
"Every drop they took from my wells in the Sinal, I have put it on my account," Sadat said. It was "for sure" that he would raise these demands at a renewed Geneva Middle East peace conference.
Sadat has raised compensation claims in the past, but little has been heard of this issue during the eight months the Arab nations have pressed a diplomatic drive to bring about a peace settlement this year.
President Carter brought up the question of compensation last week when he said that a settlement should include not only a homeland for the Palestinians but compensation for losses they suffered when the former Palestine mandate was partitioned to create an independent Jewish state in 1948.
If the Arabs are serious about compensation payments as part of the price for peace, it could put the onus on the U.S. Congress to ratify or reject the terms of a settlement. It is assumed here that such payments would have to be appropriated in the United States, since the Israelis do not have the money.
Sadat spoke to reporters after laying the foundation stone for the new industrial city 10th of Ramadan in the desert 30 miles east of Cairo. Named for the day on the Moslem calendar on which the 1973 war with Israel started, the city is planned for a population of half a million by the year 2000.
The Egyptian president appeared optimistic about the prospects for going to Geneva this year, despite the victory in Israel's recent elections of a hard-line calition.
Now that he and the leaders of Jordan. Syria amd Saudi Arabia had met Carter, he said, he expects the United States to "formulate its ideas" on a settlement. When Secretary of State Cyrus Vance makes his secon tour of the region, probably in July, it should become clearer if Washington is prepared to offer its own peace formula, he added.
According to Sadat, the formula could include establishment of demilitarized zones "on a reciprocal basis" on both sides of the 1967 Arab-Israeli boundaries and, perphaps, the installation of an electronic early warning system such as now operates in the Sinai.
Asked whether Likud's victory in the Israeli election had not strengthened the hand of thse who oppose any agreement with Israel, Sadat said; "The rejection front will always be rejectionist, whoever is in power in Israel. It's a hobby for them. Why should we deprive them of their hobby?"
He said the main stream of the Arabv leaders, including himself, he said are "in the peace process. We want to give this process every possibility year, but let's wait and see the outcome."
None of these formulations by Sadat is new, but in both word and manner today he made clear that he is heartened by Carter's Middle East views and not unduly put out by the Israeli election results.
He was less sanguine about improved relations between Egypt and the Soviet Union. A fence-mending meeting scheduled for June 9 and 10 between the two nations' foreign ministers may actually take place he said,
"I do not even know whether this meeting will take place." he said when asked whether the planned talks between Egypt's Ismail Fahmi and the Soviet Union's Andrei Gromyko could lead to a resumption of Soviet arms supplies to Egypt.
Just over two week ago it was announced that Fahmi and Gromyko would meet to discuss ways to improve bilateral relations, which have worsened since last year when Egypt abrogated a friendship treaty with Moscow, accused it of withhollding vital military supplies and cancelled Soviet naval and air facilities in Egypt.