Mrs. Meir: Too Early to Evaluate Egypt’s Condition for Cease-fire Extension

Premier Golda Meir said in reply to a question at today’s cabinet meeting that it was too early to evaluate Egyptian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad’s statement that Egypt would agree to a cease-fire extension only if Israel returned to the Gunnar V. Jarring-led peace talks. Mrs. Meir observed that an authorized version of the statement was not yet at hand, but reiterated that Israel would return to the talks only after a rollback of the SAM missiles illegally emplaced in the standstill zone by Egypt with the aid of Soviet personnel. Political circles here called Mr. Riad’s threat hollow. By all the rules of logic, they said, Egypt must want a truce extension, but “In the Middle East men’s actions are not always guided by logic. Thus one can never know.” The political circles also noted an article in Pravda, the Soviet Communist Party newspaper, that said a truce extension would be “a blow to the plans of Washington and Tel Aviv,” indicating Kremlin interest in an extension. The sources added that Egypt’s announced intention to seek the expulsion of Israel from the United Nations was not to be taken fearfully, but that nevertheless Israel is “getting ready to meet the onslaught.” The sources said it was certain that Egypt could not have made such a proposal without full coordination with the Kremlin.

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