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U Thant Asks Israel, Egypt to Take Measures to Protect UN Observers on Suez Canal Line

Secretary-General U Thant has asked Israel and Egypt to agree to four measures for the protection of United Nations cease-fire observers along the Suez Canal. The measures, based mainly on recommendations from Lt. Gen. Odd Bull, head of the cease-fire observation organization, had been discussed by representatives of the seven nations supplying the observers before they were communicated to Israel and Egypt.

Mr. Thant asked both countries to agree to permit a UN patrol boat to ply the waters of the Suez Canal and thus provide easier access to the UN observation posts. Neither country has agreed to the use of the waters by the other and neither is believed willing to accord this right to the UN personnel.

A second measure asked by Mr. Thant was establishment of “safe perimeters” around the observation posts. Israel has largely observed this in practice and has not stationed guns or garrisons near the posts on the east bank but the Egyptians have placed batteries relatively close to the observation posts in the hope that the Israelis would not return their fire for fear of hitting the UN posts.

The third proposal was for the strengthening of the UN posts and making them safer. The Israelis have said that they were willing to build stronger posts for the UN observers on their side of the canal but Egyptian gunners have prevented the Israelis from carrying out the necessary construction work.

The fourth measure called for by Mr. Thant was the end of the exclusively Egyptian practice of shipping at the UN observation posts.

Gen. Bull was to hold meetings with both the Israelis and Egyptians in an effort to secure their agreement to these measures.

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