LONDON (Feb. 17)
Diplomatic sources here said today that Egypt was preparing to move Soviet SAM-2 and SAM-3 anti-aircraft missiles across the Suez Canal the moment Israel withdraws its forces from the east bank of the waterway. The sources said that Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s proposal to reopen the canal in six months if the Israelis pulled back to a line east of El Arish indicated that Egypt does not regard the Suez Canal as an international waterway in the sense that it is understood by the United Nations. The sources said that Sadat made clear in his interview published in Newsweek magazine this week that he considered the canal Egyptian territory and that Israel had no business discussing its future. They said that at the same time Sadat made a clear distinction between the canal and the Straits of Tiran which connect the Gulf of Aqaba with the Red Sea. According to the diplomatic source, Egyptian diplomacy recently has been more effective than Israeli diplomacy. They said the constant arguments in public between Israeli ministers over peace terms weakened Israel’s diplomatic position.