Israeli Government Informs U.N. It Will Negotiate Release of Egyptians in Faluja Trap

The Israeli Government has agreed to begin negotiations for the release of Egyptian forces encircled in the Faluja area, in the Negev, acting mediator Dr. Ralph Bunche today announced. His announcement was contained in a communication released by U.N. headquarters here today, to the seven-member sub-committee of the Security Council established to assist him in implementing the Council’s Negev withdrawal order.

Dr. Bunche’s communication quoted a note from Walter Eytan, representative of the Israeli Foreign Office, agreeing to such negotiations. Eytan, pointing out that his government had been reluctant to agree to the release of the Faluja troops until the Egyptian Government accepted the Council’s order to convert the Palestine truce into an armistice, stated:

“The Government of Israel, presuming that you are satisfied that the Egyptian Government is now sincerely bent upon seeking an armistice and upon bringing to a speedy and the present war, is prepared to agree to your proposal that its representative be authorized to undertake immediate discussions with the U.N. Chief of Staff concerning the withdrawal of Egyptian forces from Faluja in stages to be determined in the course of negotiation, and parallel discussion with a view to the demarcation of permanent armistice lines.”

Dr. Bunche also informed the Council sub-committee that he was satisfied with the Israeli answer. He said: “This reply appears to me to be satisfactory and I am, therefore, instructing the Chief of Staff of the truce supervision organization to undertake immediately to give full effect to the arrangements envisaged in the proposal, and to bring the Egyptian and Israeli commanders together at the earliest.

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