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Israel and Egypt Agree on Agenda for Gaza Talks; Progress Reported

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The Israel-Egyptian talks under the chairmanship of Maj. Gen. E.L.M. Burns, United Nations truce chief, finally got off the ground today after months of delay. The most recent postponement of the talks took place last week, after the Egyptians filibustered for two days. The central issue of last week’s fruitless debates–the adoption of an agenda–was accomplished today.

The first proposal considered today for easing tension along the Gaza border was that of Gen. Burns for joint daily patrols of Israel, Egyptian and UN officers. After some talk, this point was set aside for later discussion.

The parties then turned their attention to two other proposals by the UN truce supervisor: conclusion of a local commanders agreement for direct contact between Israel and Egyptian military commanders in the Gaza area; and the exclusive use of trained troops or police personnel by both sides in the border area. A UN communique issued after the meeting said that progress was made on both these proposals. The meeting will be continued tomorrow.

Two incidents along Israel’s frontiers were reported today by an official military spokesman. One Israel watchman was wounded when he fought off Jordanian infiltrators at a kibbutz opposite the Hebron Hills. In the Meffalsim area south of Gaza an Israel patrol was fired on by Egyptian infiltrators, but no casualties were suffered.

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