Some points in the draft peace treaty between Egypt and Israel need further clarification and study before the document can be signed, Egyptian officials said yesterday.
They stressed that Egypt is not rejecting the document, worked out in negotiations in Washington last week, and said the points in question are technical, not substantive.
The most important concerns Egypt's attempt to pin down the linkage between its bilateral treaty with Israel and progress toward resolution of the Palestinian question on the West Bank of the Jordan and in the Gaza Strip.
Official sources reported that Egypt's delegation at the Washington talks had been instructed to take another look at the points in question, and that Egypt's "observations" were relayed to the United States through the American ambassador to Egypt, Herman Eilts.
The prevailing opionion here was that these technical points did not amount to serious reservations about the draft itself and that at least on the Egyptian side there are no major obstacles to completion of the treaty.
Prime Minister Mustafa Khalil, in a statement reported by the official Middle East News Agency, said, "We have not rejected the draft of a peace treaty with Israel reached in Washington. But we have some observations, which are technical in nature."
He said they concerned "a linkage between the future of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and the Egypt-Israeli peace treaty."
Earlier, presidential spokesman Saad Zaghloud Nazaar said there are "certain points that need more study to make the treaty ready for signature." He would not name them but other officials said they deal chiefly with the language of the so-called linkage.
President Anwar Sadat has said that this is a "crucial" matter. Egypt is trying to prove to the rest of the Arab world that it is negotiating not just a deal with Israel that will take Egypt out of the Arab struggle, but also a new future for the Palestinians. Egypt wants it clearly stated that establishment of full peace with Israel is to run parallel to implementation of those parts of the Camp David agreements dealing with occupied Arab territory and the Palestinians. [The Israeli Cabinet met in Jerusalem through the evening to hear Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan report on the draft treaty. No decision was expected until today, however, on what clarifications Israel might request.]
[Israeli Foreign Ministry sources said the treaty preamble contains an "expression" of effort and desire to reach an overall Middle East settlement, meaning one that would include the West Bank and Gaza "taking into consideration the interest of the Palestinian peoples," Washington Post correspondent William Claiborne reported.]
[The perception in Jerusalem, Claiborne said, was that the bilateral treaty includes a political link to the border problems mentioned in the preamble, but that it is so vaguely worded that it cannot be construed as a legal link. This is what Israel has been trying to avoid, while Egypt is eager to make the link as tight as possible.]
Sadat himself has not commented publicly on the treaty draft. Egyptian sources say Cairo is being deliberately circumspect because it wants to do nothing that would derail the treaty or arouse further Arab antagonism.
An Arab summit conference, to which Egypt has not been invited, is scheduled to be held in Baghdad, Iraq, next week and is expected to center on criticism of Egypt for the dealing with Israel.
Egypt's "observations" about the draft were prepared in a review of the document by Sadat, Prime Minister Khalil and the social affairs minister, Amal Osman.
Osman, an international lawyer, is the only woman in the Egyptian Cabinet. Diplomatic observers here were quick to note the rarity in the Arab world of any woman being officially consulted on a matter of such national importance.
In Washington, meanwhile, the continuing talks focused yesterday on economic aspects of Egyptian-Israeli peace, with special emphasis on the question of Israel's future access to oil from Sinai Peninsula fields after they revert to Egyptian control.