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U.S. Criticizes West Germany, Libya, Yugoslavia for Their Roles in Hijack

The United States has criticized West Germany, Libya and Yugoslavia for their roles in yesterday’s hijacking. State Department spokesman Charles Bray said today. “We also expressed our conviction,” he said, “that global efforts are required (and) a measure of firmness in individual cases if they are to succeed.” He added that the US had expressed “concern” over the incident to the American Embassies in West Germany, Libya and Yugoslavia while the hijacked plane was in the air shuttling between Munich and Zagreb.

Bray’s emphasis on “a measure of firmness” was seen as a particular criticism of West Germany, but he shied away from explicitly naming that country. “We regret,” he continued, “that known terrorists can secure their freedom as a result of extortion and blackmail, and that they can find eventual safe havens. It is our parenthetical view, as in other cases, that the Libyan government should extradite or prosecute–that is our consistent view.”

IMPORTANCE OF INTERNATIONAL ACTION

Bray, also referring to the hijacking of a jet to Cuba yesterday by Americans, said both skyjackings underscored the continuing and urgent importance of international action to deter and prevent hijacking and other acts of international terror and similar crimes. He said the US would seek, at the meeting Wednesday of the International Civil Aviation Organization opening in Montreal, an early convening of a plenipotentiary conference on safety measures in aviation. He noted that the US was continuing efforts to implement the draft convention it submitted to the UN General Assembly last month.

State Department officials conceded it would be difficult for the US to act “beyond the expression of views” at the ICAO meeting and at the UN. They saw the problem as one of shaping the legal and political environment in such a way that actions such as hijacking will be increasingly costly to the perpetrators. Regarding Israel’s raids into Syria Bray said only that “we’ve made our views a matter of record on this.”

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