Nasser Reportedly Favors Political Solution but Does Not Rule out Recourse to War
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Nasser Reportedly Favors Political Solution but Does Not Rule out Recourse to War

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President Nasser of Egypt reportedly told Soviet Leaders during his talks in Moscow last week that he favored a political solution in the Middle East deadlock but was prepared to go to war again. There was no indication, however, of whether the Russians agreed to give Mr. Nasser what he apparently sought during his stay in the Soviet capital — more and speedier arms deliveries. According to an account of the Moscow talks by Mohammad Hassein Heykal, editor of the semi-official Cairo daily Al Ahram who accompanied Mr. Nasser, the Egyptian leader took a tough stand and informed the Kremlin leaders that he adhered to what amounts to the Khartoum formula of August, 1967 — no negotiations, no peace and no recognition of Israel. The series of “no’s” was delivered at a session reportedly devoted to the question of a political solution, Mr. Heykal wrote in Al Ahram yesterday. The question of what to do if a political solution failed was reportedly confined to private meetings at which the only conferees were Mr. Nasser, Soviet Premier Alexei N. Kosygin, President Nikolai V. Podgorny and Communist Party Chief Leonid I. Brezhnev.

Al Ahram quoted Mr. Nasser as having said, at a more broadly-attended meeting: “Regarding a political settlement and its possibilities, we are not intransigent, nor do we allow ourselves to indulge in the illusion of dictating terms. But there are the possible and the impossible things. Accepting negotiations with Israel is impossible and I do not accept it. Recognition of Israel is impossible and I cannot do it. Conclusion of peace with Israel is impossible and I cannot do it. This is my stand and on its basis we have provided the opportunity for a political settlement.”

According to Al Ahram, the Egyptian president told the Soviet leaders that a military approach was advantageous, especially for Arab morale, but that if he could “eliminate the traces of Israeli aggression” through political action, “this is an approach no patriot can reject.” Mr. Heykal made no mention in his article of the Russian stand on additional arms for Egypt but observed that the Soviets wished to avoid a “hot confrontation” with the United States because that would result in universal destruction.

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