Damascus Says It will Take Part In a ‘Refusal Summit’ ‐ Libya

publisher: The New York Times

Publishing date: 1977-11-27


Syria rejected Egypt’s proposal tonight for a preliminary meeting to prepare for a Geneva conference. Foreign Minister Abdel Halim Khaddam said: “We will not go to Geneva and we are all going to a refusal summit ‐ Tripoli on Thursday.”

“It is impossible for us to accept President Sadat’s invitation to a meeting Cairo,” Mr. Khaddam said.

The remarks by the Syrian Foreign Minister to reporters represented the strongest condemnation yet by Syria of President Anwar El‐Sadat’s peace moves, and was interpreted as tantamount to a rupture ‐ relations between the two countries.

The Foreign Minister accused Mr. Sadat of “betraying the Arab nation” and said the Egyptian leader was “finished” as commander ‐ chief of the Arab forces.

Referring to Mr.’ Sadat’s visit to the Israeli Parliament, he said,.“Syria considers that peace does not pass via the Knesset.”

Attack by Prime Minister

The  “refusal summit” Libya is expected to be attended by Syria, Iraq, Algeria, Libya, Southern Yemen and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Earlier, without directly mentioning Mr. Sadat or his proposal for a Preliminary meeting ‐ Cairo, Prime Minister Abdel Rahman Khleifawi charged that “dramatic stands, irresponsible submission, and exaggerated displays of moderation” would not lead to a solution of the Middle East problem.”

The Prime Minister made his statement during a banquet ‐ honor of Prime Minister Raymond Barre, who arrived here today for a two day official visit.

Mr. Barre, who is the first French Prime Minister to visit Syria since it gained ‐dependence from France ‐ 1946, was ex

A Syrian Government spokesman had already condemned Mr. Sadat’s proposal for a Cairo meeting next week as “only a maneuver to cover up his visit of shame to Israel last weekend.”

“We shall not allow Sadat to create a news event to cover up his visit to the enemy and make the Arab people forget it,” the official spokesman said, ‐ what was interpreted as refusal to attend the Cairo talks.

Meanwhile, Palestinian officials announced that a limited Arab summit conference, grouping the countries that have led the attack against Mr. Sadat’s recent initiatives, would be held ‐ Libya next Thursday. According to the Palestinians, the leaders of Syria, Iraq, Algeria, Libya, Southern Yemen and the Palestine Liberation Organization will attend the conference.

The P.L.O. and Syria announced joint action earlier this week to combat what was described as “Sadat’s pan‐Arab treason.” Therefore, it was believed that the meeting ‐ Libya had Syria’s blessings. The summit meeting would be aimed at setting up “a solid Arab front” against Mr. Sadat’s visit to Israel and its results, the Palestinian sources stressed.

Khaled Fahoum, chairman of the P.L.O.’s Central. Council, announced that a meeting of the policy in making body, set for next Thursday ‐ Damascus, would be held a day earlier. The change was to enable the Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, to attend the talks ‐ Libya on Thursday.

The P.L.O., which has, denounced Mr. Sadat’s visit to Israel as “treason,” also rejected ‘his proposal for a Cairo meeting next week. The organization’s Executive Committee was to meet ‐ Beirut tonight “to adopt adequate measures,” Palestinian sources here said.

Mr. Sadat’s invitation for a preparatory meeting made no mention of the P.L.O., and his only reference to the organization was sarcastic criticism. The P.L.O. has been recognized by all Arab countries as “the only legitimate representative” of the Palestinians but relations between it and Mr. Sadat have been strained to the breaking point since Mr. Sadat’s visit to Israel.

Syria was expected to reject the Cairo invitation because it seemed: to bypass the P.L.O. and, above all, because the Syrian Government has Insisted that Israel must make some “substantial concession” on the two basic issues in withdrawal from the occupied territories and recognition of Palestinian national rights —before a meeting is held.