Nasser Reportedly Promised Nehru Not to Blockade Akaba Gulf

President Nasser of Egypt reportedly told Prime Minister Nehru of India that Egypt does not intend to reinstitute its blockade of the Gulf of Akaba, it was reported here today on the basis of information reaching foreign embassy.

During his recent stay in Cairo, these same sources said, Mr. Nehru strongly advised Col. Nasser against any attempt to reimpose the Arab blockade of Israel’s southern water exit. It is believed here that Prime Minister Nehru’s advice was based on a knowledge that Israel was prepared to use force to break any blockade by the Arab states, regardless of whether the blockading state was “pro-Soviet” or “pro-West.”

Observers here also fed that Mr. Nehru is particularly sensitive to the issue of freedom of navigation because of the economic privation of the Indian economy during the period when the Suez Canal was blocked.

(From Cairo it was reported today that Egypt and Saudi Arabia have again joined forces to prevent Israeli shipping from using the Gulf of Akaba. The report emphasized that Egypt is delivering jet fighter planes under a military agreement to help enforce a blockade of Israeli shipping. There were also reports from Cairo that Egypt may use its three Russian submarines for the same purpose. Egypt has said it will use the three U-boat, to help defend its territorial waters.)

Meanwhile, the Damascus Radio today quoted Syrian Premier Sabri Assali as statings We shall never sit at a peace table with Israel. We are unwilling to abandon the Arabs’ rights to Palestine. We are determined to restore them in the future.”

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