Nasser and Soviet Leaders Reach ‘mutual Understanding;’ Anti-israel Talk Muted

President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt conferred in Moscow yesterday with the three top Soviet leaders and reached what Tass, the Soviet press agency, called “complete mutual understanding in all fields.” President Nasser met in the Kremlin with Communist Party Chief Leonid I. Brezhnev, Premier Aleksei N. Kosygin and President Nikolai V. Podgorny. At a dinner in the Arab leader’s honor. President Podgorny asserted that the USSR will “continue to help the Arab countries in their struggle to eliminate the consequences of Israeli aggression, for attaining a just and lasting peace.” He pledged to “continue to develop the broad and mutually advantageous cooperation between the Soviet Union and the United Arab Republic in the political, economic, cultural and other spheres.” President Nasser scored Israel as “a weapon that is in the service of imperialism,” buoyed by “the war arsenal of the United States.” He called for a Middle East peace based on “justice,” rather than on “forcible occupation of territory” and “gross trampling on the rights of people.”

But both leaders stopped short of proposing a step-up in the battle against Israel, in contrast to Col. Nasser’s militaristic speech in Libya last week when he demanded Israeli withdrawal from all territories occupied in the Six-Day War and warned that. “We are preparing for a big battle against Israel. Mr. Podgorny, in fact, reiterated the Soviet desire for a “political settlement.” The Soviet president referred indirectly to Israel’s right to exist and never mentioned “U.S. imperialism” directly, leading observers to describe his remarks as optimistic and flexible. Both he and Col. Nasser referred to the Security Council’s Nov. 22, 1967 resolution, emphasizing the part about Israeli withdrawal from occupied areas. There was no mention at the dinner of the new American peace “initiative” for the Mideast, which President Nasser had condemned–especially as regards the all-important Golan Heights–in his Libya speech. Observers concluded that the two countries were at least discussing the U.S. plan, possibly with some interest.

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