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Red Cross Official Accuses Egypt of Committing Serious Breach of Geneva Convention

An International Red Cross official accused Egypt yesterday of committing a grave breach of the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war and thus “endangering the whole established system aimed at assuring victims of conflicts the assistance of the Red Cross.”

The charge against Egypt was made by Stephan Svikovsky, acting representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Israel in a radio interview. Mr. Svikovsky was questioned about the outcome of last week’s visit to Cairo by Raymond Courvoisier, personal assistant to the Red Cross president, in behalf of two captured Israeli pilots. He said that since the June, 1967 Six-Day War, representatives had been granted access to all POWs without excessive delay. But an exception occurred when Egyptian authorities permitted a visit to Maj. Nissim Eshkenazi seven weeks after his jet was shot down over the Suez Canal and he was taken prisoner. Another Israeli pilot, Capt. Giora Ron, has been held incommunicado since he was shot down five weeks ago and no date has been set for a visit by the Red Cross, Mr. Svikovsky said. He said the Egyptians have not replied to an Israeli offer to exchange two captured Egyptian pilots for the two Israelis.

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