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US sizes up potential gain if A-ships could use Suez

By WITH ANALYSIS FROM MONITOR CORRESPONDENTS AROUND THE WORLD, EDITED BY HILARY DEVRIES / February 18, 1981



Cairo

The United States could cut about 10 days from the time required to send nuclear-powered Navy cruisers from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf if Egypt allowed them to use the Suez Canal, US officials said. The officials added, however, that the two most important types of nuclear warships, aircraft carriers and strategic submarines, would be unable to use the canal even if Egypt lifted its ban on nuclear vessels in the waterway.

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The Pentagon said it could not confirm that Cairo and Washington were discussing an agreement for US nuclear ships to transit the canal. But officials said it was common knowledge that the US had been seeking such per mission for several years.