Egypt denies US request to make bases permanent
Egypt refused a request by the United States to turn two Israeli-built Sinai air bases into permanent US stations, Deputy Prime Minister Fuad Mohieddin said. He said Egypt granted the US temporary air facilities for its AWACS monitoring planes "to protect the holy lands in Saudi Arabia, with the approval of the Saudis, who felt the encroaching dangers at their borders." Mr. Mohieddin also said that any facilities used during joint Egyptian-American military maneuvers "will be dismantled immediately after they are over . . . ." President Sadat has said repeatedly he is willing to grant "facilities but not bases" to the US and any European country to protect Islamic countries in the Middle East and Western interests in them.
Spokesmen for the US and Israeli embassies said there had been no official requests for use of the airfields.