The military operations that began in Sinai on the evening of 29 October have a small prelude which I would like to share with the reader. It was a small prelude, a political prelude that took place at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York City, in early October -- the same month that was later to witness the military operations in Sinai.
In October, the Security Council debated the question of the Suez Canal, concluding by adopting six principles towards a peaceful settlement of the issue, and on the basis of which negotiations would be conducted, while guaranteeing free and efficient passage through the Canal.
During and following the Security Council sessions, several meetings took place between UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold, Dr Mahmoud Fawzi, the Egyptian minister of foreign affairs and his British and French counterparts, Selwyn Lloyd and Christian Pineau. While these were not the negotiations called for by the Security Council, they were without a doubt the kind of exploratory contracts that by necessity precede any negotiations.
The New York meetings concluded by reaching agreement on certain points, and with the participants agreeing to meet again soon for further discussion of the issues, the time and place of the next meeting to be arranged by Mr Hammarskjold.
A few days later, the UN secretary-general sent the Egyptian government a projected location and date for the upcoming meeting.
The location was Geneva.
The date was Monday, 29 October.
Upon receiving his message, the Egyptian government immediately notified the secretary- general that it would attend the proposed meeting, whereas the British and French governments stalled. Then news came from London and Paris indicating that the matter involved more than playing for time. It soon became evident that London and Paris were attempting to find excuses to evade the scheduled date. The British and French governments had evidently scheduled a different meeting for 29 October. It was to convene in the Sinai Desert -- not in Geneva -- and they did not intend to meet with Egypt, but with Israel.
The aim was not to solve the problem of the Suez Canal. Rather, the new tripartite meeting aimed to annihilate Egypt -- totally.
This is the truth which the parties to the tripartite conspiracy cannot deny... The issue was not about a canal that crosses Egypt. It was about Egypt -- with all that it represents today, with all that it seeks and stands for...
The issue is about a country striving for independence.
The issue is about a country striving for power.
The issue is about a country breaking the arms boycott.
The issue is about a country aspiring to freedom for itself and others.
The issue is about a country wanting to liberate its economy.
The issue is about Arab nationalism, an ideology which has engulfed our entire region.
Imperialism could not let this happen.