Israel Agrees to Accept U.N. Observers on Suez Canal Cease-fire Line

The Israel Government officially announced today that it had agreed to the posting of United Nations observers along the cease-fire line at the Suez Canal. The Israeli agreement specified that the observers must be posted on both sides of the cease-fire line on the basis of strict reciprocity.

Lt. Gen. Odd Bull, Secretary-General U Thant’s personal representative in the area, will fly to Cairo in the next few days to work out arrangements with the Egyptians for the posting of observers on their lines. He will then work out arrangements with the Israelis. Both countries have the right to determine from which countries they will accept observers.

(Ambassador Gideon Rafael at the United Nations notified the Secretary-General this morning of the Israeli acceptance. An Israeli mission spokesman said the Israeli action reflected his country’s desire to see the cease-fire effective. It was understood in U.N. circles that Egypt does not want to admit Canadian nationals as observers.

(A U.N. spokesman said the observers will not set up a buffer zone. They will, he said, have observation posts and will have freedom of movement.)

The Israeli decision had been delayed pending receipt in Jerusalem of the exact text of the Security Council’s decision. What Israel sought to avoid at all costs was any situation which would perpetuate the 1949 agreements which Israel insists the Arab attack last month rendered void.

Israel has agreed to permit Gen. Bull to use Government House, former headquarters of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, as headquarters for the cease-fire observation team. The building and the 150 dunams (37.5 acres) on which it stands have been declared the property of the State of Israel.

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