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UN Assembly Plans Full Debate on Aerial Hijacking; Soviets Object

The General Assembly’s steering committee agreed today to place the subject of aerial hijacking on the agenda for a full scale debate. The committee acted on an 11-nation petition which said it had become “urgent” for the United Nations to devise legal methods which might be undertaken by member states to prevent further incidents of air piracy.

The only serious objection to the agenda item was raised by the Soviet delegate, Jacob A. Malik who questioned the motivation behind the issue at a time when “some circles engage in noisy propaganda about some individual cases of hijacking.” Mr. Malik’s remark was seen as a reference to the Aug. 29 hijacking of an Israel-bound TWA airliner by Arab commandos who forced it to land in Damascus. Two Israeli passengers aboard the plane are still held captive by Syria. He was also believed to be referring to Israel’s protests against the Syrian action when he said, “The faster the causes of some cases of hijacking are eradicated, the sooner will the consequences disappear and the seizure of aircraft will come to an end.”

The backers of the General Assembly debate submitted a draft resolution calling on individual nations to provide for the prosecution of hijackers and guarantee the prompt release of the passengers, crew and aircraft involved. The nations are The Netherlands, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Madagascar, and New Zealand.

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