UNITED NATIONS (Jul. 30)
The United Nations has withdrawn some of its cease-fire observers from the Suez Canal, leaving only 14 of its 18 posts manned.
A report by Lt. Gen. Odd Bull of Norway, chief of the UN observer mission, said the partial withdrawal was made “in view of the escalation of firing incidents” and the “increasing danger” for the 90-95 observers.
The report came on the heels of the death last Sunday of Swedish Maj. Bo Roland Plane, who was killed at his observation post during an Egyptian-Israeli artillery exchange. Lt. Gen. Bull said that two of the now closed posts would be manned again “as soon as adequate shelters are available.” A UN spokesman reported that Lt. Gen. Bull had been authorized to withdraw his observers from other posts if he considered them unsafe.
Secretary-General U Thant was planning a second meeting this week of representatives from the seven nations providing the observers. They are Argentina. Austria, Chile, Finland, France, Ireland. and Sweden.
Envoys from the seven met Monday with a high level aide of Mr. Thant and expressed concern for the safety of the observers. They gave Mr. Thant and. Lt. Gen. Bull a vote of confidence in their handling of the situation and made no reference to the possibility of total withdrawal.