JERUSALEM (Jun. 3)
Foreign Ministry analysts do not believe the new Soviet-Egyptian treaty will affect or be affected by the projected federation of Egypt with Libya and Syria Scheduled to be ratified next Sept. The analysts say the treaty applies only to Egypt and not to its federation partners and note that the three countries will retain their individual sovereignty, capitals and armed forces. The federation agreement is not a merger and provides only for consultations between member countries on foreign policy. After the federation comes into effect in Sept. a treaty such as the one between Cairo and Moscow would require consultation and coordination among the three partners, but would not be precluded, Foreign Ministry sources said. The military aspects of the new pact were stressed yesterday by President Anwar Sadat in an address to the Egyptian National Assembly. He said the pact, for the first time, provided a long-range basis for Soviet assistance to Egypt including training in the use of modern weapons, “This is the new element. This is what we want and that is what we must adhere to since we believe that the battle will be imposed on us,” Sadat said. He added he added he would not agree to territorial concessions to Israel for the sake of a settlement but stressed that Egypt still hoped for a peaceful solution. Although there was no official reaction to President Nixon’s remarks on the Soviet-Egyptian treaty during his Tuesday night press conference, some Israeli newspapers offered their assessments. Nixon had expressed U.S. readiness to rectify an imbalance of power in the Middle East that the new pact might create.
The newspapers Davar and Haaretz expressed satisfaction with the President’s warning against a new arms race in the Mideast and his commitment “to step up military aid to Israel to prevent the military balance from swinging to the Arabs.” Davar remarked, however, that “the lukewarm American reaction to the new friendship treaty stems from an unwillingness to admit openly that it constitutes a diplomatic blow to Washington.” Al Hamishmar said, “The two stresses–maintenance of the arms balance and efforts toward a settlement–are characteristic of President Nixon’s general grasp of matters, striving for talks with the Soviet Union on a mutual limitation of forces in Europe and for a political settlement in the Middle East, paralleled by efforts to improve relations with China.” Hatzofe, referring to rumors of Soviet contacts with Israeli officials, suggested that “The Soviet Union must have an interest in dialogue with Israel as a counter-measure to the United States dialogue with Egypt and other Arab states.” The two leading Soviet newspapers, Pravda and Izvestia, sharply criticized U.S. efforts to promote a Mideast settlement and improve relations with Egypt. A front page editorial in Pravda, organ of the Soviet Communist Party, called the Moscow-Cairo pact “a new blow at the plans of international imperialism which is trying to drive a wedge in the relations of the two countries, undermine friendship between them and divide the progressive forces.” Izvestia, the government organ, said the only Mideast settlement desired by the U.S. was one that met “its own imperialist ends.”