PARIS (Jun. 17)
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad accused the United States of “duplicity” in its relations with Egypt in an interview published in the newspaper Le Monde today. Riad, who is also a deputy premier, denied that any “real negotiations” have ever taken place for reopening the Suez Canal. Riad’s attack on the U.S. was one of the bitterest to be made by an Egyptian official since Cairo accepted the American peace initiative in the Middle East last summer. The Egyptian diplomat drew an analogy between today’s situation and the 1949 Rhodes talks following the first Arab-Israeli war. “Then like now we were made to swallow poison in a sugar coating. Today the same tactics prevail, the same propaganda and the same duplicity,” he said. Riad claimed that he personally never had any illusions as to what America’s real intentions were. After the cease-fire last summer he said he decided to “wait and see whether America would carry out its promises.” He said that U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Joseph J. Sisco brought nothing new to Cairo when he doubled back there last May 8 after his and Secretary of State William P. Rogers’ Middle East tour. All that Sisco brought with him to Cairo was “an Israeli demand for Egypt’s capitulation, a series of Israeli demands in exchange for an Egyptian agreement to reopen the canal,” Riad said in the interview.