UNITED NATIONS (Oct. 29)
Secretary General Kurt Waldheim is trying to bring the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) in the Middle East up to its full strength of 7000 men authorized by the Security Council’s resolution last Thursday. But he has a long way to go, according to a progress report issued here this morning.
So far contingents supplied by Austria. Finland and Sweden have arrived in Cairo and some of them have already been deployed in the cease-fire zones along the Suez Canal. But they are considerably below strength according to the progress report which was dated Oct. 28.
Waldheim has requested the three governments “to take urgent measures to bring their contingents up to the strength of an effective battalion,” the report said. According to a UN spokesman, an effective battalion consists of 750-800 men. So far Austria has contributed 166, Finland 215 and Sweden 204 to UNEF.
The Secretary General, meanwhile, is in touch with the government of Ireland with a view to transferring the Irish contingent presently serving with the UN in Cyprus to the Middle East, the report disclosed. The Irish contingent reportedly numbers 144 men. Waldheim is also in touch with the Canadian government to contribute to UNEF but Egypt is reportedly opposed to the participation of a Canadian force.
The Security Council resolution establishing UNEF stipulated that it could be composed of the forces of all UN member states except the five permanent members of the Security Council. But a UN spokesman said today that there were three additional criteria that have to be met by contributing states. He said these were equitable geographic distribution; acceptance by the parties involved; and the capability of the contingents.
USSR TO CONTRIBUTE TO UNEF
While some sources at the UN predicted that the world body would be hard pressed financially to maintain UNEF after the Security Council authorized $30 million for the force for the first six months, the Soviet Union indicated today that it would contribute toward financing UNEF. A spokesman for the Soviet Mission said in reply to questions at a press conference this afternoon that his country would support a UN peace -keeping force if it operated in a “lawful and legitimate” way in keeping with the UN Charter.
Asked if the USSR regarded UNEF as lawful and legitimate, the spokesman said it did and, in reply to a follow-up question said Russia would contribute toward its financing. Observers here said this is the first time the USSR has agreed to participate in financing a UN peace-keeping force anywhere in the world. (By Yitzhak Rabi.)