Egypt Believes U.S. Has Dropped Demand for Missile Correction in Truce Zone

The Egyptian government believes the United States has dropped its demand that Egypt must remove Soviet missiles from the Suez truce zone as a condition for resumption of the Jarring peace talks, according to reports from authoritative sources in Cairo today. The sources expressed caution but were obviously satisfied that the favorable gesture expected from Washington after the American elections last week has materialized. They said the major shift in U.S. strategy away from its support of Israel’s demands for correction of alleged cease-fire violations was made clear to Egyptian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad who is currently in the U.S. State Department spokesman Robert J. McCloskey’s failure to mention American concern over the Suez missile build-up at his last press briefing was regarded by Cairo as confirmation of the U.S. shift. Cairo says the U.S. was responding to Egypt’s “signal” for better relations which was conveyed when President Anwar Sadat named diplomatic veteran Mohammed Fawzi as Egypt’s new Prime Minister. Mr. Fawzi is not anti-Western as some of the other candidates for the post were.

(In Washington the State Department has downplayed the slight stir created Thursday when a briefing officer omitted mention of Egyptian missile “rectification” in discussing the future of the Middle East cease-fire and the Jarring peace mission. A State Department source explained that “Mr. McCloskey has said all he has to say on that.”) The Cairo newspaper Akhabar El Yom warned yesterday that Egypt reserves the right to end the extended Suez cease-fire at any time “we find it is no longer in our interests to abide by it.” According to the newspaper, acceptance of the truce extension was a unilateral act by Egypt and Egypt can therefore end it unilaterally. Jordan’s new Premier, Wasfi Tal, said at a news conference Sunday that his government would adhere to the extended truce. He said however that Jordan and the Palestinian guerrillas shared the common aim of recovering Israel-held territory–peacefully if possible, by force if necessary.

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