Meeting with Ben Gurion “very Useful,” Hammarskjold Declares

United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold told a press conference today that he had found his recent meeting with Premier David Ben Gurion of Israel “very useful.” He said many of the problems concerning Israel and Egypt are under “continuous discussion” but he said “there are no final decisions as yet.”

He reiterated his belief that “there are no basic obstacles” to Israeli-Egyptian peace negotiations but such negotiations, he said, “are a matter of timing.” Meanwhile, he stressed, he believes that the 1949 armistice agreement between Israel and Egypt is still a valid instrument. That agreement, he said, “excluded rights of belligerence.” He cautioned, however, against mis-labeling specific acts related to the armistice agreement as violations of the UN Charter.

Asked about the Suez Canal situation, Mr. Hammarskjold noted that the Security Council had adopted a resolution in 1951 barring a blockade such as Egypt now imposes on Israel, He said that Egypt had not as yet signed Article 36 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice, which would obligate it to accept rulings by the court. However, he held, Egypt does recognize the court, “even if it does not recognize Israel.”

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