President Anwar Sadat, considering the Israeli withdrawal from Sinai virtually assured and no longer at issue, intends to focus on the Palestinian aspect of the Camp David accords in his talks with President Reagan next week, according to Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamal Hassan Ali.
Declaring that the recent events in Lebanon proved "peace is urgently needed for the area," Ali said in an interview that the main thrust of Sadat's Washington visit would be to convince the Reagan administration of the need to provide the Palestinians with autonomy on the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
"Here will be the main message to President Reagan," he said.
Ali also urged the Reagan administration "to recognize and deal directly" with the Palestine Liberation Organization, saying this would give new impetus to the peace process and encourage the PLO to recognize Israel. n
Asked if Sadat would make this request formally to Reagan, Ali said he did not expect so. Ali said this was only "what I personally hope." His remarks nonetheless indicated the kind of pressures the Reagan administration is likely to come under when Sadat and a high-level delegation of military and civilian officials arrived in Washington Tuesday.
Ali repeatedly argued that there was a direct link between a settlement of the Palestinian issue and alleviating administration fears of greater Soviet involvement in the region.
Sadat is expected to discuss what he describes as the Soviet threat to Egypt and Sudan via Libya and to urge a more active U.S. role in the region. During the two days of discussions, he and his aides are likely to press for the delivery of more arms at a faster pace to allow Eyypt to play a greater role in protecting America's Arab allies.
The United States is providing Egypt with $3.5 billion worth of weapons, including F4 and F16 fighters and M60 tanks. But the high cost of each item, the limited numbers and slowness of delivery have become a major source of irritation to the Egyptian military -- which has been shopping in France for additional planes and tanks.
In addition to meeting with Reagan, Sadat is to hold talks with ysecretary of State Alexander M. Haig Mr., Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and Cabinet members dealing with economic affairs. He also plans a private visit to Plains, Ga., to see former president Jimmy Carter, who was the moving force behind the peace accords signed at Camp David in 1978.
Despite a widespread feeling elsewhere in the Arab world and much of Europe that the accords are now all but formally dead, Ali insisted they still constitute the only framework for obtaining an overall Middle East peace.
"They are the only binding [accords], the only fact now," he said. "The past two years proved there is no other alternatives."
Ali said the first part of the accords, dealing with the Israel withdrawal from the occupied Sinai Desert and laying the basis for the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, had been carried out "with very good faith from both sides."
He said the agreement for the final stage of the Israeli withdrawal and the establishment of an international peacekeeping force in the Sinai would be signed Monday in Washington by Haig and the Israeli and Egyptian ambassdors.
After that, he said, the only remaining issue is implementing the second part of the Camp David accords providing for Palestinian autonomy as an interim step leading to self-determination.
Negotiations between Israel and Egypt over the Palestinian autonomy issue reached an impasse more than a year ago and then were suspended at ysadat's request early last August after the Israeli parliament passed a law making Jerusalem the country's undivided capital.
With the Israeli elections now out of the way and a new American president, Sadat has said he will press ahead for a resumption of the autonomy talks. He apparently hopes Washington will break the deadlock.
Ali said there were "many essential differences" between Egypt and Israel regarding the purpose and definition of "full autonomy" as well as the powers and responsibilities of the autonomous Palestinian body envisaged by the accord to govern the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
He denied Egypt was looking to the United States to "pressure" Israel, however, saying it was instead a matter "fulfilling what we have agreed upon and putting into consideration the interests of the United States in the area."
Once the Palestinian issue was resolved, he said, the danger of increased Soviet involvement in the region would recede and the security of all nations would be assured.
"I think you can convince Israel that it is not only the security of the other nations as well as the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza," he said.