On May 18, 1967, Secretary-General U Thant agreed to the withdrawal of the United Nations Emergency Force from Sinai and the Gaza Strip. On 23 May, as he was flying to Cairo, he heard that Egypt had re-imposed the naval blockade on the Straits of Tiran (see Section XI). Excerpt from a speech delivered by President Nasser to his troops in Sinai on May 23, 1967, announcing the new blockade, follows:
... Yesterday the armed forces [of Egypt] occupied Sharm el-Sheikh. What does this mean? It is an affirmation of our rights, of our sovereignty over the Gulf of Aqaba, which constitutes Egyptian territorial waters. Under no circumstances can we permit the Israeli flag to pass through the Gulf of Aqaba. The Jews threaten war. We say that they are welcome to war, we are ready for war, our armed forces, our people, all of us are ready for war, but under no circumstances shall we abandon our rights. These are our waters ...
Sources: Israeli Foreign Ministry