PLAINS, Ga. -- Former President Carter welcomed Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to his hometown Sunday, but gloomily noted 'the high hopes' of the 1979 Camp David peace talks no longer exist.
During a brief ceremony honoring Sadat, Carter called for full autonomy for Palestinian refugees and denounced terrorist acts against Israel.
'It is time for all Palestinian leaders to forego the use of violence and to recognize Israel's right to exist in peace,' Carter said.
'And it is time for the Israeli military occupation to end and for freedom and full autonomy to be granted to Palestinians who live either in the West Bank and Gaza or as refugees from their homeland.'
Carter said Mideast peace is still possible because of the 'courage, strength and generosity' of Sadat, but noted the peace talks that began with the Camp David accords have bogged down and the 'high hopes of those days have not been sustained.'
Sadat, who made few political comments during his remarks, referred to Carter as his 'deep friend' and said the former president 'risked everything' in his attempts to negotiate peace in the Middle East.
'Jimmy Carter has left his fingerprints on the history of our age,' Sadat said to the applause of about 3,000 spectators. 'We shall never forget in our age that he has gone to the limit.'
After the ceremony, Sadat and his wife Jihan were to join the Carters at their ranch-style brick home for a broiled chicken dinner before flying to Andrews Air Force Base near Washington Sunday night and boarding a jet for the trip back to Egypt.
Sadat's visit to Plains capped a week-long stay in the United States, which also included visits with former Presidents Nixon and Ford as well as President Reagan.
Sadat and Carter stepped from a helicopter onto the softball field at Plains High School about 5:30 p.m. to the blaring trumpets of the Westover Marching Band from Albany, Ga.
Pesty gnats, occasional drizzle and the threat of a thunderstorm did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd, which cheered often and loudly during the ceremony.
Carter honored Sadat with a gift of a glass laurel leaf 'to commemorate the possible success of our common search for peace.'