UN Secretariat Said Invitation Accepted Before Air Piracy Occurred

Mr. Thant had accepted an invitation to attend the OAU conference in Algiers – an action that has angered Israelis here – before Arab terrorists hijacked the airliner, it was reported here today. Press officers of the United Nations Secretariat said that the OAU’s administrative Secretary-General, Diallo Telli, had invited Mr. Thant on May 4 and Mr. Thant sent his acceptance July 16, a week before Arab terrorists hijacked the plane and flew it to Algiers. Israelis here have been indignant that Mr. Thant had agreed to visit Algeria when the Algerian Government was involved in an “act of piracy.”

Mr. Thant had accepted Mr. Telli’s invitation “in principle,” expressing hope that last minute difficulties of “an overriding nature” would not arise and interfere with the trip. After receiving Mr. Telli’s invitation, Mr. Thant then was invited orally by the Algerian Government and accepted orally. The press here was told this earlier after Israel privately expressed displeasure over the projected visit that Mr. Thant would visit Algeria “provided international developments permit.”

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