UN Sources Report Apparent Hardening in Algerian Stand on Israeli Plane

Informed sources reported here today there has been an apparent hardening of Algeria’s position on release of the hijacked Israeli airliner and its 12 detained Israeli passengers and crew members. That evaluation was understood to stem from two meetings Secretary-General U Thant held yesterday with Tewfik Bouattoura, the Algerian envoy, and one with Yosef Tekoah, the Israel Ambassador, on the issue. The Secretary-General was also reported to have renewed his efforts to obtain release of the airliner and the Israelis.

(It was reported from Algiers today that Algerian Foreign Minister Abdel Azzlz Bouteflika released the text of a letter to Mr. Thant, in which the Foreign Minister said that Algeria was still seeking “a satisfactory solution” to the problem but that “nothing will sway” Algeria from continuing out its “investigation” of the circumstances of the hijacking last July 23. It was also reported that President Boumedienne met with his Cabinet to discuss the situation in the light of the boycott by the International Federation of Airline Pilots Associations against Algeria for its continued detention of the plane and passengers.)

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