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Tekoah Refutes Report That Thant Constituted a Mission to Jerusalem

Israeli Ambassador Yosef Tekoah said today that it was “incorrect” to say that Secretary General had “constituted a mission on Jerusalem.” Tekoah replied to newsmen’s questions on a published report that Thant had “chosen” three United Nations delegates to “check into” Israel’s practices in East Jerusalem. Tekoah explained that Thant “continues to await an Israeli note informing him officially of our attitude,” as agreed to privately by Thant. Tekoah and Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban. “Thant requires such a note to be able to submit a report to the Security Council,” Tekoah continued.

“The purpose of the meeting which he held yesterday with representatives of the three member states who had expressed willingness to serve on such a mission if circumstances arise that make the constitution of the mission desirable was to inform them that he is still awaiting the Israeli note.”

A UN spokesman confirmed today that yesterday’s meeting had taken place and that Thant required approval from Israel before a mission could be authorized. Attending the meeting were Thant; Ambassador Guillermo Sevilla-Sacasa of Nicaragua, president of the Security Council for October, and the envoys of the prospective mission members–Dr. Carlos Oritiz de Rozas of Argentina, Piero Vinci of Italy and Ismael Byne Taylor-Kamara of Sierra Leone. Thant’s query to Israel was made under terms of Security Council Resolution 298 of Sept. 25, which demanded cessation of Israeli projects in East Jerusalem.

(In Jerusalem, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Israel had not received notification from the UN. Israel has rejected Resolution 298, and authoritative sources here said she would refuse to have any dealings with the proposed commission and would not extend it facilities to carry out its work. It was not clear, however, whether Israel would bar the commission members should they arrive in Israel, as she barred the Ceylon-Somalia-Yugoslavia unit investigating Israeli practices in the occupied territories. Argentina, Italy and Sierra Leone are neutral in the Arab-Israeli conflict and maintain friendly relations with Israel. Foreign Ministry circles have privately expressed the hope that the three will reconsider their acceptance of the Secretary General’s appointment.)

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