Thant Posts 47 More Cease-fire Observers in Suez Area; Costs Seen As $315,820

Secretary General U Thant announced today the nationalities of 47 additional cease-fire observers to be stationed in the Suez Canal area, with the approval of both Israel and Egypt. He also gave the Security Council an estimate of the cost of recruiting and maintaining the expanded force. Mr. Thant reported that Israel and Egypt have agreed to an additional nine observation posts to be set up on both banks of the Suez Canal, four on the West Bank and five on the Israel-held East Bank.

The 47 new observers, who will bring the strength of the cease-fire observation corps in the Suez area to 90, have been recruited from Argentina, Austria, Chile, Finland, France, Ireland and Sweden, the Secretary General said, and they are expected to arrive at their posts early this month.

The expense involved in recruiting them was estimated by Mr. Thant as $315,820 as of December 31, 1967. Should the expanded corps be continued through 1968, the estimated cost will be $873,000, he said. Mr. Thant said he will report to the Security Council at a later date on the projected use of helicopters and small craft to increase the range and mobility of the observers’ corps.

Lt. Gen. Odd Bull, Mr. Thant’s personal representative for cease-fire matters in the Middle East, reported today that a Lebanese tapline employee was severely injured on Nov. 29 when his vehicle, which was following a United Nations jeep, detonated a land mine on the Israeli-Syrian cease-fire line, on the Golan Heights. The Lebanese worker was en route to repair a leak which occurred in the oil pipeline in the area between the Israeli and Syrian forward defence lines.

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