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Report France Prepares New Demand for Release of Syrian Pows

Informed sources here said that France was preparing a new proposal for consideration by the Security Council that would require Israel to comply with the section of the Council’s June 26 resolution demanding that it release five Syrian intelligence officers captured during a foray into Lebanon June 21. The sources said the French proposal does not call for sanctions should Israel refuse to comply. But concern was expressed here that the new French move could disrupt negotiations presently being conducted through the International Red Cross for a general prisoner-of-war exchange between Israel, Egypt and Syria.

Israel insists that the release of the captured Syrian officers can be effected only through a general POW exchange. The Security Council’s resolution was criticized here as one-sided for not calling for such an exchange while demanding that Israel free its captives. The resolution stipulated that the Council would meet again in the event of non-compliance by Israel. That stipulation was the basis for last week’s request by Syria and Lebanon for a new Security Council meeting.

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