Menu JTA Search

See Moscow Attempting to Cool Arabs; Nasser Speech Angered Soviet Officials

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

The Soviet Communist Party newspaper Pravda said yesterday that “peace-loving countries must make renewed efforts to find a political solution to the Middle East conflict. Observers here saw the reference to “peace-loving” forces as an indication that Moscow wants to continue exercising restraint over the extremist elements among its Arab clients.

Senior Soviet officials were surprised and angered by last Thursday’s fire-eating speech in Cairo by President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt. According to word reaching here from the most reliable sources in Moscow, Soviet leaders were amazed that President Nasser would go so far as to foreclose all options short of war left open to him. The tenor of his speech was totally unexpected by the Kremlin, these sources said.

The Russians were also angered by a passage in the Nasser speech was which seen as a direct affront to the Soviet Union. The Egyptian leader said that “when the June, 1967 war began, we stood unarmed against Israel’s military might.” Soviet officials have remarked that, considering the volume of arms that Egypt received from the Soviet Union prior to June, 1967 and the quantity of Russian equipment captured by Israel during the war. Col. Nasser had no right to try to clear his own inefficient Army of the stigma of defeat by implying that the Soviet Union had let Egypt down.

NEXT STORY