JERUSALEM (May. 11)
Israeli officials were surprised today by the fact that United Nations Secretary General U Thant abstained yesterday in a report to the Security Council, from placing blame on Syria for the breakdown in his efforts to arrange talks between Israel and Syria through the Israeli-Syrian Mixed Armistice Commission, However, the officials withheld formal comment for the time being.
Mr. Thant sent a message yesterday to the Security Council, in which he expressed fears of new fighting between Israel and Syria on the scale of the April 7 land, sea and air clash in which Israeli fighter planes shot down six Syrian Soviet-made MIG jet planes. His communication contained the text of a message he sent Monday to Lt. Gen, Odd Bull, chief of staff of the U.N. Truce Supervision Organization. Mr. Thant instructed Gen. Bull to start “as soon as possible” separate talks with Israel and Syria “to achieve understanding on practical arrangements for cultivation problems along the armistice demarcation line” between the two countries.
Mr. Thant told Gen, Bull that such action had to be started because “it is not possible for the time being to expect any fruitful convening of a meeting” of the MAC, However, he made no reference to the fact that the extraordinary session of the commission, which he arranged for last January when border clashes had reached a dangerous peak, were indefinitely suspended by Gen. Bull in February because of Syrian insistence that the agreed-upon agenda–discussion of the cultivation area be broadened to include other issues.