Tekoah Expresses Optimism on Issue of Hijacked Plane, Israelis Held in Algeria

Yosef Tekoah, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, told newsmen today that he is more optimistic today than earlier in the week about the release of the El Al Boeing 707 and 12 Israeli crewmen and passengers held in Algeria since July 23. He spoke to newsmen after conferring with Secretary-General U Thant, at Mr. Thant’s request, a half hour on the subject of the airplane hijacking.

Mr. Thant informed Mr. Tekoah that he had received a message from Algerian President Houari Boumedienne dealing with the plane issue. Mr. Tekoah told reporters that his "increase in optimism" is a result of the contents of the message. "I am still hopeful" that the issue "will be settled in accord with international law and morality – to use an Algerian phrase," the Israeli envoy said.

Mr. Tekoah said that according to information he had received, the Israelis are well taken care of in Algeria and there was nothing to warrant concern about their physical state.

An informed source said here that the two pilots representing the International Federation of Airline Pilots Associations were on their way back to Algeria today to resume negotiations for release of the plane and Israelis. The pilots, Capt. J. J. O’Grady and Capt. O. L. A. Forsberg, were invited Aug. 6 to return in a telephone call from the Algerian Foreign Office. They had gone back to Britain earlier in the week after consultations with Algerian officials.

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