Following are excepts from the speeches given at the opening session of the Cairo conference by Israel chief delegate Eliahu Ben Elissar, Egyptian Chief delegate Esmat Abdel Meguid and U.S. chief delegate Alfred Atherton: ISRAEL
Yesterday my colleagues and I - the delegation of Israel - traveled from Jerusalem to Cairo. It was a unique experience. The flight was brief, but the journey of the spirit was infinite.
People of goodwill everywhere hope and pray for the success of our talks. Our deliberations have consequences that extend far beyond our two countries and our common region. We have to address ourselves to issues that have long awaited a table around which to sit and reason together.
It is this that brings us to Cairo - to talk, to reason and to conduct dialogue in frankness and in mutual confidence.
If we wish to move from here toward peace, nobody else can do the job for us. We, the countries involved in the conflict, can resolve the problems that have to be solved. If there is a lesson to be learned from our long dispute, it is that peace cannot be made by proxy.
It is for this reason that we regret the absence in this city, and from this table, of all those who should be with us today: Representatives of Syria, Lebanon and Jordan and an appropriate delegation of Palestinian Arabs.
I declare this because the goal of the government of Israel is a comprehensive agreement and not a separate agreement. It is a real peace that we seek - peace with all our neighbors, to the south, the east and to the north.
Our goal is now to begin to translate the principles established in Security Council Resolution 242 into all the necessary elements of a peace treaty, namely: termination of the state of war, forever; establishment of diplomatic relations; commerce; international cooperation; use of international waterways; mutual assistance in all fields of national activity. It is proper that these goals be achieved at a reconvened Geneva conference.
It is an axiom of our times that the Arab-Israel conflict has lasted too long. Seen in its historic context, it has been a tragic, wasteful and futile conflict. No future war can possibly change the permanent sovereign reality of our region. EGYPT
Today we sincerely hope that we are witnessing the dawn of a new era for the region and for the whole world.
No one can forget that the people in this era in this area have been subjected to untold sorrow and miseries for 30 years. Lives have been sacrificed, blood has been shed. It is therefore high time to seize this opportunity and strive, with vision and a sense of responsibility, towards the achievement of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
The Middle East conflict, and its core the Palestinian question, reached a turning point when President Sadat urged Israel to join efforts for the speedy realization of just and comprehensive peace.
Tangible and concrete results are expected and should be forthcoming without delay.
We trust that the outcome of this meeting will lead to positive and constructive results and that we will all be able to avoid undue delays and unite our efforts to attain the just and comprehensive peace, now, that we have transcended barriers of fear and mistrust.
In view of these monumental developments that followed the initiative of Egypt, we trust that we will be able to reach a clear objective and to live up to our peoples' expectations and legitimate aspirations.
It is pertinent to emphasize that the invitations which have been extended to the other parties concerned, namely Syria, Jordan Lebanon, the PLO and U.S.S.R. are still standing and we do hope that they would participate in this preparatory stage for the Geneva peace conference. Their participation here will be most welcome.
Let us demonstrate in the clearest terms that we are determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war and that our ultimate goal is the establishment of a comprehensive settlement whereby the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people are fully realized so that peace and justice may prevail once more in the Middle East. UNITED STATES
We are ready to do whatever we can to facilitate support and encourage the negotiations here to prepare the way for the Geneva Middle East peace conference and the achievement of comprehensive, just and durable peace in the Middle East.
The momentous events of recent weeks have . . . provided new hope that the objective of an overall settlement embodied in peace treaties can in fact be achieved. With one bold stroke President Sadat had broken through the barrier and imparted new momentum toward peace. With farsightedness and statesmanship, Prime Minister Begin has responded in a manner that makes it clear that Israel, for its part, does not intend to allow this unique opportunity to be lost.
I must record my government's regret that others invited to this meeting have felt unable to accept the invitation to attend. Ulimately I believe those absent will see that the process begun here is in their benefit. We are all agreed the door remains open for others to join at any time.
Central to my government's policy over the years is the concept that this peace can only be achieved through negotiations between the parties. Security Council Resolution 242 established the principles for those negotiations.