LONDON (Oct. 31)
The Egyptian Government refuses to consider its massive artillery assault across the Suez Canal last Saturday as a violation of the cease-fire agreement on the grounds that the presence of Israeli forces on the Canal’s East Bank is counter to the Security Council’s resolution of Nov. 22, 1967, the London Times reported in a dispatch from Cairo today.
That reasoning was given to Lt. Gen. Odd Bull, chief of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), by Salah Gohar, undersecretary at the Egyptian Foreign Ministry. The Times report said. The Egyptian interpretation of the Nov. 22 resolution is that it calls for the unconditional withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied Arab territories. Mr. Gohar told Gen. Bull that the situation along the Suez cease-fire line “should be considered on the basis of the presence of Israeli forces in those positions that contradicts the Security Council’s resolution.”
According to the Times report, Egypt launched last Saturday’s attack to destroy Israeli rocket-launching sites which had been set up in positions facing the vulnerable Port Suez oil refineries. The Times also reported an Egyptian denial of rumors that the Soviets might try to reopen the Suez Canal by force. An Egyptian spokesman called them “Israeli propaganda” which “ignores the fact that the Suez Canal is part of United Arab Republic territory and responsibility for its opening and management lies with the UAR.”