Sadat’s ‘war-like’ Speech for Home Consumption, Israelis Say

Official sources here described President Anwar Sadat’s speech to the Arab Socialist Union in Cairo yesterday as “war-like” and “uncompromising” insofar as Israel is concerned but apparently intended for home consumption. They contrasted it to the more moderate remarks by Egypt’s Information Minister and government spokesman Mohammed Zayyat which were broadcast abroad but hardly mentioned in the Egyptian media. The concensus here today is that no new Egyptian policy has emerged in the wake of Sadat’s expulsion of Soviet military personnel from Egypt.

The exodus of Russian advisors is continuing. Reports from Turkey today confirmed that Soviet transports were ferrying Russian personnel out of Cairo in what was described as an air lift of moderate size. The movement is expected to continue for another week. The Suez Canal front remained quiet today following yesterday’s unsuccessful missile attack on two Israeli aircraft on a routine flight over the Sinai peninsula. There was no sign of an alert or unusual activity on the Egyptian side of the canal. Egyptian soldiers were seen sun-bathing and strolling without helmets.

Israel’s official assessment of Sadat’s speech and the reduction of Soviet forces in Egypt awaits Premier Golda Meir’s address to the Knesset tomorrow. Sources here said today that Sadat’s remarks could hardly be construed as preparing the Egyptian public for a negotiated peace with Israel. The Egyptian leader resorted to blood-thirsty rhetoric not heard in Cairo for some time, they said. Such phrases as “What was taken by force must be regained by force” and “I prefer bloodshed on the battlefield to the daily blood-letting of no-peace-no-war” were viewed by observers here as a specific rejection of a negotiated settlement and territorial compromise.

In contrast, Zayyat spoke Saturday of a political solution and Egypt’s desire to be friends with everyone. Zayyat was speaking to foreign newsmen. The Egyptian President lashed out at the US for supporting Israel. As regards Russia, observers here said Sadat tried to play down his differences with Moscow. While he spoke of disagreements with the Soviet government, he barely mentioned the ouster of Russian advisors last week. The Soviet media has also played down the episode and Israeli circles believe both sides want to continue their previously good relations.

Israeli sources said today that the Russians departing Egypt included advisors and other personnel attached to MIG-21 squadrons and SAM-3 missile batteries. But it is believed that most instructors and technicians are remaining. It is unknown whether the Russians are pulling out their squadrons of MIG-23s, the world’s fastest combat plane. It seems certain, however, that the Russian Navy is not losing its bases at Alexandria, Port Said and Mersa Matruh, Israeli sources said.

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