News Brief

SYRIA FOLLOWS ISRAEL IN ACCEPTING FOUR POINTS PROPOSED BY U.N. OFFICIAL

Meanwhile, it was officially reported here this afternoon that Syria today followed Israel’s example in accepting the four points submitted by Col. Benret de Ridder, acting United Nations truce chief, to both parties as a prerequisite for the resumption of normal activities of the Israeli-Syrian Mixed Armistice Commission. Israel accepted the four points last week. They are:

1. All military and para-military forces of both sides to be withdrawn from the demilitarized zone; 2. No further fighting within the zone or across demarcation lines; 3. United Nations observers to be afforded every facility for carrying out their duties; 4. The responsibility of the chairman of the Mixed Armistice Commission to implement the article in the armistice agreement concerning resumption of normal life in the demilitarized zone to be reaffirmed by both states.

The Syrian acceptance came on Sunday in the form of a letter to Col. de Ridder from the senior Syrian delegate to the Mixed Armistice Commission, Commander Djid. In the letter, Commander Djid voiced his country’s readiness to participate in any emergency meeting of the Mixed Armistice Commission convened by the chairman, but he said he felt obliged to bring to the attention of the acting chief of staff that no Syrian military or para-military forces had penetrated the demilitarized zone.

Referring to demarcation “lines,” the Syrian official declared that only one such line was defined in the armistice agreement. He received Syria’s rights regarding such questions as the stoppage of works in the region, the return of Arab civilians to their villages and the compensation of damage to their property in the recent incidents.

EBAN TAKES ISSUE WITH REPORT BY GEN. RILEY

Israeli chief delegate Abba Eban tonight submitted to the U.N. a legal memorandum taking issue with a number of points raised by U.N. truce chief Maj. Gen. William E. Riley in his progress report covering the period November 17 – February 17. The Eban memorandum claims that Gen. Riley exceeded his terms of reference in seeking to delay the Huleh drainage project since it is a purely civilian operation.

The memorandum asserts that Gen. Riley tried to draw a distinction between Israeli control and Israeli sovereignty in the demilitarized zone. The question created by the truce supervisor, the memorandum says, is whether the Israel Government is to function as a government in the demilitarized zone or whether that area is to be an “island of anarchy dedicated to the maintenance of a swamp.”

NEXT STORY