ROME (Sep. 30)
President Richard M. Nixon urged Egypt yesterday to honor the Middle East cease-fire and to move as rapidly as possible toward a constructive peace settlement. He pledged that the United States will seek good relations with whoever succeeds the late President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Mr. Nixon made his remarks at an informal meeting with newsmen in Naples prior to flying to Belgrade for a meeting with Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia. (President Nasser was mourned in the Soviet Union today. In official condolences sent to Cairo the Soviet government re-affirmed its desire for a political settlement in the Middle East. They also pledged continued support of “the national liberation movement of the Arab people.” Observers, noting Moscow’s 12-hour silent following news of Nasser’s death, said it indicated the Kremlin leaders were shocked by the event and feared that Nasser’s eventual successor might alter Egypt’s policy of close reliance on the USSR.) In Jerusalem today a majority of the Israeli cabinet rejected a proposed official statement of sympathy to the Arab world. A statement had been prepared by the Foreign Ministry which expressed the hope that a new chapter might now be opened in Israel’s relations with its neighbors. The cabinet majority felt, however, that a statement of sympathy might be construed as self-serving and hypocritical since President Nasser was Israel’s strongest and most dangerous foe in the Arab world. According to sources in Jerusalem Israel is considering a new peace offensive in the Middle East, taking advantage of the fact that Nasser’s demise will give other Arab leaders a freer hand to come to terms with Israel.