U.N. Security Council Gets Report on Cease-fire Situation in the Suez Canal Area

Secretary-General U Thant filed with the Security Council a report from Lt. Gen. Odd Bull, his representative for the implementation of the Arab-Israeli cease-fire agreements, requesting that the cease-fire observation teams in the Suez Canal area be increased from the present strength of 26 observers on both sides to 50 observers.

Of the total of 50, Gen. Bull stated, he is assigning 26 observers to the U.N. control center at Kantara, on the east bank of the canal now occupied by Israel, and 24 to the Ismailia control center, on the Egyptian-held west bank. In addition. Gen. Bull reported, there are four observation posts on the Israeli side, two of them manned on a 24-hour basis, and an observation post on the Egyptian side also manned 24 hours a day.

Gen. Bull also reported the agreement he made last week with both Israel and Egypt, under which both sides promised to keep all boats off the canal or from entering the canal for one month expiring August 27. However, the agreement provided that boats of the Suez Canal Authority, under Egyptian Jurisdiction are to be permitted for the purpose of supplying food and other needed supplies to foreign shipping anchored in the Bitter Lakes, inside the canal, since Egypt closed the canal in June.

Mr. Thant reported to the Security Council this weekend that the United Nations and Israel have reached an agreement for Gen. Bull and his staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization to move back into Government House. The latter complex is in former no-man’s land between the New City of Jerusalem and the Old City formerly held by Jordan. During the June war, Jordanian troops expelled UNTSO from Government House which was retaken by Israel the same day. Since then, Mr, Thant and Gen. Bull have been negotiating with Israel for UNTSO’s return to Government House.

Under the agreement with Israel, Mr. Thant reported. Government House and a surrounding area of 44 dunams is being returned to UNTSO. The area returned, Mr. Thant said, is about one-third of the area previously occupied by UNTSO headquarters. One building containing UNTSO’s radio facilities, including antennae, is outside the 44-dunam portion returned by Israel but. Mr. Thant added. Israel has assured him that UNTSO will have access to that building.

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