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Israel Sees Egypt Reaffirming ‘belligerency’ to Justify Blockade

The Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman accused Egypt today of a calculated move to warn the Western Powers that it intends to maintain its belligerency claim as an excuse to continue the barring of the Suez Canal to Israel shipping.

The Foreign Ministry statement was provoked by an expression of Egypt’s intentions voiced at Geneva by Wing Commander Ali Sabri, head of the political department in Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser’s office. Sabri was Nasser’s observer at the recent22-nation conference in London on the Suez Canal.

En route to Cairo to report to Nasser, Ali Sabri declared in an interview that “Israeli ships will never pass through the (Suez) Canal.” He insisted that Egypt had the right to bar Israeli shipping.

Sabri’s statement, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said, was “an unvarnished expression of Egypt’s policy of aggression which is the primary cause of the threat to the peace in the Middle East.”

He challenged the Egyptian justification of its policy on the grounds that Egypt considers itself in a state of war with Israel, pointing out that Egypt had signed an armistice agreement with Israel and that the United Nations Security Council had ruled that no state of war exists and had consequently ordered Egypt to discontinue the blockade of Israel.

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