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Israel Not Worried About Possible Reduction of U.N. Force in Gaza

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The possibility that U Thant, Secretary-General of the United Nations, might reduce the strength of the 5,000-man United Nations Emergency Force does not concern Israel, as long as the effectiveness of the Force is maintained in its present positions, Foreign Ministry circles indicated here today. UNEF stands on guard along the Gaza Strip facing Israel, and at Sharm el-Sheikh, overlooking the Gulf of Akaba.

Mr. Thant’s mention of a possible scaling down of UNEF has been made informally in a press discussion of the financial difficulties facing the United Nations. Such proposals, tied to budgetary considerations, have been made at the UN before, it was pointed out here, but the only aspect important to Israel is that the Force continue to maintain the peace in the areas under its guardianship.

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